Reagan Morehouse spent hundreds of hours helping at a Lake County shelter, and even made a trip to India, where she treated patients at a free clinic in the past year.
The Lake Forest resident also took time for herself, spending six months enrolled in a class to overcome dyslexia.
“I was able to improve my grammar and reading skills through the course,” Morehouse said.
Bailey Ayers also has been busy, devoting significant time to enriching the lives of children both locally and abroad. The Lake Forest resident ventured to Ghana, where she helped build schools, worked at a children’s hospital, and taught in an orphanage.
But she, too, made a point of developing herself even further, playing on Lake Forest Academy’s tennis and softball teams while taking weekly voice and piano lessons.
“I want to congratulate Bailey and Reagan for this important accomplishment,” said Dold. “Your work to help improve the community in which you live, and the world, is impressive. You are a role model to your peers, and I am proud of all that you have done to push yourself and help inspire those around you.”
The Congressional Award is Congress' award for young Americans and is open to all 14- to 23-year-olds. Participants earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas: volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. The Congressional Award has no minimum grade point average requirements.
Morehouse, a 2011 Lake Forest High School graduate who just finished her freshmen year at Syracuse as a pre-med major, completed more than 600 volunteer hours at the local Public Action to Deliver Shelter, or PADS Center and Book Bank. Part of that time was spent in the day care facility, helping students complete homework.
For personal development while at Lake Forest High School, she took voice lessons and participated on the school’s forensics team, performing Italian arias in local recitals and reciting humorous and dramatic solos and duets in competitions. For physical fitness, she joined the sailing, rowing and water polo teams, and found time to complete 5-kilometer runs, lift weights and practice with her teammates.
During her two-week trip to Chennai, India, Morehouse promoted healthy living to children.
“I had an incredible experience while earning my Congressional Gold Medal, and through my experiences, I was able to learn that if I want to create change in the world around me, I have to go out and change policies on my own,” she said.
Ayers worked at afterschool programs and extracurricular activities locally. For personal development, she focused on improving her skills in music and theater by appearing in more than seven theatrical productions. For her physical fitness, she attended year-round tennis lessons and summer camps.
Her personal expedition was a five-night camping trip on a portion of the Appalachian Trail, specifically in the White Mountains.
“I think the most important thing to be learned from this process is time management; committing yourself to an award of this caliber makes it difficult to have spare time and to waste time, so every moment should be spent doing something important,” Ayers said.