Name: Zachary Lee Wong
2012 Gold Medalist
My name is Zachary Wong, and I was a 2012 Congressional Gold Medal Award recipient. Currently I am a sophomore attending Harvard University, and I am honored to have been a part of the Congressional Award Program and grateful for what it has taught me.
The Congressional Award Program provided an excellent framework and structure to guide and explore diverse interests in Personal Development, Volunteer Public Service, Physical Fitness and Expedition/Exploration. I learned that the knowledge and experiences gained were not the end goal but that the process of learning was just as important. After receiving the Congressional Award Gold Medal, I continued my interest as a filmmaker, and I was honored to receive the Best Student Film Award from Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival in 2012. A year later I co-founded a media company, which promotes diversity and cultivates social issues and awareness through film.
There are enormous beneficial aspects of the Congressional Award Program. My research exploration trip to the Canadian Rockies was one of my most enjoyable and memorable endeavors. It gave me the opportunity to research natural flora and fauna of the national park and to consider the logistics of conducting the field observations. It was a challenging experience with the gratification of goals being accomplished. Public service is another highlight of the Program, which was interwoven throughout all of the various activities, projects and platforms. I learned that the value and significance of public service could not be overstated, as we need to take part to serve one another in our daily lives. Lessons acquired from such activities will remain with me forever- working with a local homeless shelter, raising funds for hunger and earthquake relief and now interning in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau to help residents facing foreclosures to be able to keep their homes.
The Congressional Awards Program is instrumental in fostering young men and women to realize their potential by setting their goals. Experiences gained from these valuable opportunities have helped with my personal development and my role within local and global communities. Every student can benefit significantly by participating in the Congressional Award program; it teaches you to be accountable and encourages you to take risks and to be responsible to yourself and your communities.
I truly appreciate the dedication of everyone involved in administering the Congressional Award Program and how the program has positively impacted the American youth of today and tomorrow.