Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ CD-9) presented U.S. Congressional Medals to three Tempe Preparatory Academy students yesterday in a ceremony at the campus in Tempe.

Rachel Matsumoto, a senior from Ahwatukee, earned the Silver Medal, by completing over 200 hours of volunteer services with charities such as Family Promise, a shelter for homeless families. She also completed 100 hours of personal development and physical fitness, and planned an overnight expedition at a ranch in Texas. Matsumoto learned that “working together as part of a team is a valuable lesson.”

Sophia Toomb, a senior from Tempe, and Jacob Massie, a sophomore from Mesa, each earned the Bronze Medal by completing over 100 hours of community service, 50 hours of personal development and physical fitness, and planning an overnight expedition. For Toomb’s expedition, she lived in a yurt. She also learned to push herself to do important community service and that “the little things in life can be someone’s greatest blessing.”

Congress established the U.S. Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, service and achievement in young people.  These awards earned by setting goals in four areas; Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

Tempe Prep has the highest number of 2014 U.S. Congressional medalists in the state. With over 50 students participating in the program. Karin Moffitt, Tempe Prep’s Academic and College Counselor, brought the program to Tempe Prep “to motivate students to make goals that benefit their personal growth as well as prepare them for the college admissions process.”

Tempe Prep is a free, open enrollment public charter school for students in grades 6 through 12 that offers a rigorous liberal arts education with small class sizes and a curriculum based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. Tempe Prep has recently been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the Valley (and second highest in the state).

(August 2014)