Omaha World Herald: Students Honored with Awards at Congressional Award Ceremony

May 18, 2017
In The News

After putting in 60 or more hours of work, eight Bellevue students were honored May 9 at the annual Congressional Award ceremony at the Bellevue Public Schools Welcome Center.

The award recognizes people age 14 to 24 through six levels of awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold Certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals.

The event, presented by Offutt Air Force Base 55th Force Support Squadron and BPS, featured Congressmen Don Bacon and Jeff Fortenberry as speakers.

Bacon said students should be proud of the awards.

“When President (Jimmy) Carter did this in 1979, I was a senior in high school,” Bacon said in his speech. “I wouldn’t have won a gold medal, or a silver medal, or a bronze medal. I would have been in like the asphalt medal (category). I liked dirt bikes. That’s about what I majored in.”

The audience laughed.

Fortenberry encouraged the students to continue to use their gifts to grow and benefit the community.

He echoed Bacon’s congratulations.

“I’m personally proud of you,” Fortenberry said in his speech. “Nebraska is proud of you; America is proud of you.”

Bellevue West sophomores Annika Sjostedt and Kelli Smith received Bronze Certificates. Bellevue West junior Jonathon Copley and senior Celeste Kenworthy received Bronze and Silver Certificates. Bellevue West junior Amanda Kost and Gretna High School freshman Mary Matya received Silver and Gold Certificates.

Mother of Divine Grace home school freshman Mary Aumen, Bellevue West juniors Melissa Irish and Lauren Jurek, and Louisville Public Schools junior Lia Senser received Bronze Medals. Lincoln Southwest High School junior Allison Dail received Bronze and Silver Medals.

Bellevue West senior Terese Navarra, Bellevue West junior Luis Sanchez-Romo and Mother of Divine Grace senior John Paul Terneus received Gold Medals. Terneus also received the Offutt Youth of the Year Award.

Gold medals require at least 400 hours of volunteer public service, 200 of personal development, 200 of physical fitness and four overnight expeditions/explorations.

Navarra offered some advice to those working toward this award.

“Just remember, it all starts with a dream and a goal,” Navarra said. “It can only happen if you go out and give it a try.”

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