Serving the community is important to Cece Hemingway, which is why she committed to 100 hours of public service, recently earning her the Congressional Award Bronze Medal.

“It’s nice to learn about your community, and the needs of the community,” she said.

The award was created in 1979 in an effort to honor, encourage and inspire America’s youth, according to congressionalaward.org.

Any student aged 14 to 24 years old can participate in the award. Students pledge to set and meet goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.

The Owensboro High School sophomore said she volunteered at the hospital and fostered kittens for the Daviess County Animal Shelter, which contributed to community service. She also had a plot in her church’s community garden and participated in Impact 100 Next Generation, which went toward the 50 hours of personal development required for the award. She also completed 50 hours of physical fitness in yoga and a spin class, also part of the criteria for the award.

She also was a page for Rep. Suzanne Miles, spent a day at Cecil Farms learning about agriculture, planned a hike at Mammoth Cave, and planned an overnight trip to Shaker Village, which fell under the award category exploration days.

This award is added to another Congressional accolade Cecilia received last summer. At that time she won the Second District Congressional Art Competition for Daviess County, for her painting entitled “Gray Peaks Meet the Ski.”

Cece worked toward these hours over the course of seven months. It was hard work, she said, but she enjoyed it.

This year especially, she said, giving back to the community has been integral. With COVID causing hardship for a lot of people in the area, Cece was happy to do what she could.

“This award helps me set and reach goals, and just be a better citizen,” she said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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