Sept. 20, 2016
For immediate release
SSA Tucson senior wins highest Congressional student award
Tucson, Ariz. -- A senior attending Sonoran Science Academy-Tucson has landed a Congressional Award gold medal, notching the school’s second program honor of 2016 after another senior, Nicholas Daniels, earned a silver this summer.
Piyaporn Chivatanaporn’s gold medal -- the highest level -- puts the 17-year-old among an elite group of only several hundred young people nationwide each year who achieve an individualized set of rigorous public service goals.
Piyaporn, or “View” as she’s known to teachers and friends, spent three years completing her program. It consisted of 400 hours of public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness activities and five days planning and executing a personal expedition or exploration that “requires self-reliance, determination and cooperation.”
“My main personal goal was to continue improving in my studies of the Japanese language,” says View. “One of my physical goals was to become a certified open water SCUBA diver and the award gave me a push to complete it. Community service was probably the easiest part because I've been volunteering for the Friends of Oro Valley Public Library for about four years along with volunteering with my school, clubs, and one-time events.” Her exploration goals took her to Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon and Seattle, Washington.
Chivatanaporn will formally receive Congress’ highest award for youth in a ceremony hosted by members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, to be held June 2017 in Washington D.C. After graduation, she will continue her studies at university with a major in one of the sciences, and an eye toward medical school.
View’s SSA advisor is Ms. Aichurek Zhalilova, who teaches computer science. She says there were many others who share in her achievement. “I'd definitely like to thank all the teachers that have supported me and cheered me on,” she says, “and all the validators who allowed me the opportunity to complete each goal. And, of course, my parents and family, who helped me throughout, especially with the expedition/exploration goals.”
View’s gold medal is part of what now appears to be a Congressional Award trend for SSA Tucson. Over the summer, senior Nicholas Daniels took a silver medal, and another student, senior Ali Therkhan, has submitted an application in expectation of achieving the school’s second gold later this year.
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans, open to all 14 to 23 year-olds. Participants can earn certificates or awards at four levels for setting and achieving goals in four program areas: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.
See the list of 2016 winners at http://congressionalaward.org/national-events/gold-medal-events/2017-gold-medalists/
Sonoran Science Academy-Tucson is part of the Sonoran Schools network and is an A-rated public charter school serving grades K-12. Sonoran Schools operates six tuition-free, public charter schools in the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas. Website: sonoranschools.org.
Images below: Nicholas Daniels with his silver medal; image of the Congressional Gold Medal.