High school senior earns Congressional citation

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  • Thiago Santos receiving a medal from Rep. Frelinghuysen last December

SPARTA — Sparta High School Senior Thiago Santos is going from bronze to gold.

Santos received his Congressional Youth Bronze Medal from Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ11) in December 2016. He has recently completed all the requirements for his Congressional Youth Gold Medal and will be formally recognized this summer at the Capitol Building Washington, D.C.

Santos will join the other Gold Medalists from the 50 states and territories at a formal presentation ceremony at the Capital Building, Washington D.C. June later this year.

The medal is presented to recognize outstanding civic duty in young adults. Students who are awarded the Congressional Youth Gold Medal throughout the nation have logged over 400 hours of voluntary public service, completed a minimum 400 hours of personal development and physical fitness, and accomplished an expedition or exploration that lasted at least five days and four nights .

Santos, as an Eagle Scout, age 17, fulfilled the voluntary public service requirements by volunteering for The Student Conservation Association, http://www.thesca.org , and spent 4 weeks camping and working on a project in the Blue Ridge National park in North Carolina. In addition this past summer he spent 3 weeks hiking, camping and working in the Okanagan-Pasayten National forest in Washington State. Locally he volunteered at Pass it Along, in Sparta.

For personal development Cadet 2nd Lt. Thiago Santos from the Picatinny Civil Air Patrol Unit achieved the Billy Mitchell rank in Civil Air Patrol. He advanced through the Civil Air Patrols Ranks and cadet leadership program. The Civil Air Patrol meets on Tuesday evenings at the Dover American Legion. During his time in Civil Air Patrol, Thiago attended Basic Encampment at McGuire Air Force Base, attended the Model Aircraft and Remote Control, MARC National Encampment in Wisconsin, Wing Conference where he competed in the 1st Civil Air Patrol, STEM competition. He also attended a KC-135 inflight refueling mission.

For personal fitness, Santos was a part of the Sparta High School Varsity soccer team and has played for the Sparta Travel soccer team for several years.

For his expedition, he chose to hike and camp in the Shenandoah Mountains for 4 nights and 5 days. The Shenandoah Mountains are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains where Santos volunteered the previous summer.

Santos plans to enlist in the United States Air Force, where he hopes to do computer programming. Being named a medalist has taught him the importance of perseverance, independence, planning and giving back to community.

He said: “Voluntary Public service was so important to me, because it really was amazing to see the national park and national forest it really gave me the feeling of giving back to the community, it also enabled me to see much more of the country.”

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