Oxbridge Academy students Alex Goetschius and Max Paksima are the recipients of the Congressional Award, a prestigious honor given by the United States Congress to young Americans.
Goetschius earned a gold medal, and Paksima earned a bronze medal. Both were honored at a ceremony where Congressman Brian Mast presented them with their medals.
Goetschius is the first Oxbridge student to earn the gold medal, which requires more than 800 hours of community service, personal development and physical fitness, and three overnight and extensive expeditions or explorations over the course of two years.
“Setting formidable goals that enabled me to focus on my community, leadership and personal development was challenging, but incredibly rewarding. The process taught me about the importance of leading a life of discipline, service and ethics,” Goetschius said. “I was humbled to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by our local congressman and heroic war veteran, Brian Mast. He is an inspiration.”
Paksima also hopes to earn the gold medal.
“I have another year to work toward the gold medal. The discipline it requires to achieve this goal teaches me to stay organized and focused,” Paksima said. “Through the Congressional Award process, I have come to have a deep appreciation for the things I have. Traveling to third world countries as part of the award has made me want to help others in our community and the world as often as I can.”
The Congressional Award involves setting goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. There are six levels of award: bronze, silver and gold certificates and bronze, silver and gold medals, each awarded based on the minimum number of hours completed in each program area. For more information, visit www.congressionalaward.org/about.