Rithvik Gowda has come upon some free time so the senior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School figured that he would continue to play rugby and do weight training.
He played for the Bridgewater Rugby team and trained at Gold’s Gym in Bridgewater to meet the requirements of what was involved in his successful---and time consuming ----pursuit of gaining prestigious awards.
Rithvik was notified on May 7 that he was the recipient of both the Congressional Award for the Silver Medal and the Bronze Medal.
According to the United States Congress’ Award for Youth program, the Congressional Award remains the highest honor a member of the United States Senate or a House Representative may bestow upon a youth civilian.
The United States Congress established the Congressional Award Act in 1979 to recognize initiative, service and achievement in young people.
Rithvik caught wind of this elite and special program by “a family friend”
So two years ago, he launched his mission.
“I set out to accomplish this goal,” he claimed. about winning a Congressional Award medal.
In order to achieve this national honor, Rithvik was required to complete four tasks in a determined time frame.
1-Voluntary Public Service over a total of 200 hours and 12 months to gain a Silver Medal and at least 100 hours and seven months to receive the Bronze Medal.
He accomplished this level by performing community service projects, including volunteering at the Somerset County Food Bank, holding a garage sale to fundraise for non-profits and participating on the Somerset County Youth Council.
2-Personal Development required 100 hours and 12 months for the Silver Medal and at least 50 hours and seven months to be a recipient of the Bronze Medal.
He served an internship at a medical company in the area and also took guitar lessons to meet the Personal Development requirements.
3-Physical Fitness called for 100 hours and 12 months to earn Silver and at least 50 hours and seven months for a Bronze.
This is where Rithvik picked up his current interests in playing rugby and weight training.
4-Expedition demanded three day and two night trips in order to gain Silver and at least two days and one night trip for Bronze.
He organized a camping trip in a park located in northern New Jersey while he also wrote a research paper on the culture of the United Arab Emirates.
Rithvik kept a log of his activities and submitted his report to the Congressional Committee in September. Once that group validated his efforts, he was informed of his awards, which came out as a total five.
Besides the Silver Medal and Bronze Medal, he also met the qualifications and received a Gold Certificate, a Silver Certificate and a Bronze Certificate. By meeting the directives to earn a Silver Medal, he easily accomplished the time and tasks that were demanded to receive a certificate.
Rithvik shared that earning the medals and certificates accomplished more than what he had set out to do.
Those community service tasks, he felt, turned out to be gratifying
“I feel that I accomplished more. I eventually helped out the community in general,” he revealed. “That never crossed my mind.”
Bridgewater-Raritan High School Principal Dan Hemberger praised the commitment that Rithvik had to endure to receive the medals.
“We are proud of Rithvik for winning Silver and Bronze Congressional Awards,” Principal Hemberger said. “ He is quite deserving of this notable accomplishment and has represented Bridgewater-Raritan High School very well”
Rithvik will graduate Bridgewater-Raritan High School in June and then he will be off to Boston and attend Northeastern University, where he plans to major in Computer Science.
But first, he has some rugby games and some weight lifting to do.