Junior Earns Congressional Gold Medal

Congratulations to junior Afraah Hawa, recipient of the Congressional Award Gold Medal, Congress’ highest honor for youth. Established in 1979, this award honors young people for setting goals, creating an action plan and completing challenges. Recipients complete specific goals based on voluntary service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration.
Afraah, who is interested in STEAM subjects, began working towards her voluntary service goals as a TA for Summer at Barstow. She helped kids explore their interests in arts, sciences, and sports. She also spent time volunteering at Children’s Mercy Hospital, assisting in neurology research and collecting data to help work towards equal care for all.

For her personal development goal, Afraah joined the Barstow robotics team in order to further explore her passion for STEAM, learn about engineering and build relationships with other students from all grades. Afraah also started working under the mentorship of a data scientist, exploring AI technology in medicine and learning to code statistical models and analyzing data.

Her physical fitness goal involved re-learning tennis, which she played when she was younger. Afraah played on the Barstow tennis team for two years and met up to play with friends every month. She says that tennis is more challenging to play than it looks, but that she enjoyed the sport the more she played and practiced.

For the exploration portion, Afraah planned a trip to East Asia with her family after learning about the cultures of Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam. With her family, Afraah spent 10 days traveling and experiencing these cultures firsthand.

Through the objectives of this award, Afraah utilized her passions, explored new skills and knowledge, and created new relationships and memories. Since 2015, 51 Barstow students have received this honor.