Last month, Ajaipal Chahal received a Congressional Award of a bronze medal from Congressman Ro Khanna. Chahal, an incoming junior at Dartmouth College, described the Congressional Award.
“The program is operated by a non-profit called the Congressional Award that works with the U.S. House of Representatives,” Chahal said. “Representatives in Congress can encourage young people to challenge themselves and take part in this rewarding program. The program really pushes participants to challenge and better themselves in different areas. The four different areas that I spent time in were voluntary service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition. The Congressional Award program recognizes and rewards people who complete these challenge areas.”
While attending Santa Clara High School, Chahal worked on the four categories. For example, for his voluntary service, he worked with the Santa Clara Sister Cities Association (SCSCA) and the City’s Youth Commission to run events and fundraise for student trips to SCSCA’s sister cities abroad.
“For personal development, I worked on my public speaking skills by taking a class in Mission College and I also reached out to mentors for feedback about their best practices,” Chahal said. “For physical fitness, I improved my basketball skills. Back in high school, I got to practice with my friend, Vinay, who was on the basketball team.”
Speaking of basketball, Chahal emphasized that even though the Boston Celtics would be the team to root for at his New Hampshire university, he is forever a loyal Golden State Warriors fan.
“When I was in 12th grade, I got to plan a trip to Big Basin with some of my class friends,” Chahal said of the expedition he organized. “We all joined in and tried to improve our mapping and compassing skills. One challenge was getting my friends, who had never gone camping before, ready for the trip.”
Chahal wants to thank Khanna for “bettering the community and encouraging young people through this program.” Chahal is prepared to set new goals and work toward completing them.
“The Congressional Award has different levels and if I do more work, I can get the silver medal and the gold medal,” Chahal said. “I look forward to working to earn more medals through this program.”
Visit congressionalaward.org for more information about the Congressional Award program.