Glenelg High student wins 2 congressional medals for service

February 10, 2005

Allyson C. Happel, a 16-year-old Glenelg High School sophomore, received the Congressional Silver and Bronze Medals for all-around achievement and community service at a Town Hall meeting held by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Saturday at the Glenwood library.

The nonpartisan, noncompetitive awards program for young people was established by Congress in 1979 to encourage and recognize initiative, achievement and service, according to the program's Web site, www.congressionalaward. org. Funding is provided by the private sector.

To participate in the congressional awards program, young people must set and achieve challenging goals for themselves in the categories of volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.

Allyson met the requirements for the silver medal, automatically receiving the bronze, as well. She spent 200 hours volunteering for the PTA, the March of Dimes and her church; she clocked 130 hours of personal development time and 151 hours of physical fitness, improving her basketball skills.

"I'm just the mom," said her mother, Glenwood resident Denise Geiger. "You know, I'm the one that drives her everywhere [and] helps to encourage her to see life from lots of different angles -- all the learning that parents are supposed to help you do."

Eighteen thousand young people, ages 14 to 23, are participating in the national program. Allyson is one of three Maryland students to earn the silver and bronze medals for 2004.

-- Fay Lande

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