VSU grad earns Congressional Award - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

VSU grad earns Congressional Award


By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -   A Valdosta State University graduate is one of only three students in the state to earn a Congressional Award this year.

The program recognizes young people who serve others and strive to better themselves.

Dennis Harris earned the Congressional Award, one of the country's highest honors for youth in America. Congressman Jack Kingston presented a gold medal to him at the Student Union Tuesday.

"He wants to contribute to society. He wants to improve himself physically and mentally but also wants to keep his heart in the right place by doing voluntary service," said Kingston.

Harris is getting his master's degree in instructional technology at Valdosta State University and substitute teaches. "As a substitute, I remind the students that this is important their education is important," said Harris.

To earn the award goals must be set and achieved in four different areas: fitness, personal development, exploration and public service.

He put in 400 hours of community service at the Moody Air Force Base Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the soup kitchen. He spent hundreds of hours becoming a firefighter, working out to become physically fit as an Air Force Academy cadet, and he served as an overnight guest for several nights at a rescue mission in Florida.

Congressman Kingston says getting the gold is very challenging. "The families have to be supportive as well but it's the individual who decides to do it."

Dennis Harris is thankful for his mentor and the support he's had from his family and friends. He says all students need the same support not only to better themselves but also to do their part in the community. 

Since the Congressional Award was established in 1979, more than 6,500 awards have been bestowed.


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