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Unionville High School Junior Earns the Congressional Award Gold Medal

Unionville High School Junior Earns the Congressional Award Gold Medal

Unionville High School (UHS) junior, Eleanor “Ellie” Day, has earned the U.S. Congress’ highest honor for youth– the Congressional Award Gold Medal. 

The Congressional Award recognizes goal-setting and achievement in America's youth. Established into law in 1979, students aged 14 to 24 may participate by setting and achieving individually-challenging goals in three areas– personal development, physical fitness and public service. Participants culminate their experience on an expedition, immersing themselves in an unfamiliar environment. 

Day’s journey to earning the Gold Medal started in eighth grade when her sister Madeleine “Maddie” Day participated. “I got to see how that award shaped her, helped her grow, accomplish goals and develop as a person. Seeing that made me want to start it myself,” Day explained.

To satisfy her 200 personal development hours, Day chose to pursue writing. She co-leads the international organization WriteCause, joined the Unionville Post and submitted her work to other publications. 

As a part of the UHS Track and Field Team, Day completed 200 physical fitness hours. She explained, “It has come to be one of my most favorite things to do. I went from not being a runner to actually enjoying running. It’s something I’ll continue to do throughout my life.”

Day also shared her love of learning by dedicating some of 400 required service hours to tutoring other students. “Being able to give back in that way not only helped me to develop a sense of community, but also helped me to learn in a different way– through teaching,” she said, reflecting on the impact of her service. 

For the expedition part of this process, Day spent 60+ hours shadowing six different doctors in different fields of medicine. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and used the opportunity to explore her future field. 

Day credits her Pocopson Elementary Gifted teacher Mrs. Hofmann-Reardon, UHS’ Mrs. Deldotto and Mr. Lacianca and the parents of the students she tutored for their help in her completion of the project.

In particular, Mrs. Hofmann-Reardon was Day’s project advisor, providing support and guidance throughout the process. “She really shaped me,” Day commented. “Mrs. Hofmann-Reardon taught me to love learning and to embrace that side of who I am.” 

“It has been an honor and a privilege working with Ellie since elementary school,” stated Mrs. Hoffmann-Reardon. “She is a young woman who epitomizes, in every way, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District's ‘Portrait of a Graduate.’ In her pursuit of the Congressional Gold Medal Award, she demonstrated all of the qualities we hope to encourage in our students.”

Day says that the Congressional Award helped her develop as a person and as a part of the UCFSD community. She will receive her Gold Medal at the annual Summit held in Washington D.C. in June. 

For more information, visit the Congressional Award website. Unionville High School students interested in pursuing the Congressional Award can speak with their counselor.