Yesterday, Alaska Congressman Don Young presented the Congressional Award Silver Medal to Kodiak High School student Rafael Bitanga for his exceptional community service.
“I’m very proud to present this award to Rafael today as he has dedicated so much of his time to give back to Kodiak,” said Congressman Young. “Over the last two years as Rafael has worked to earn this award, he has been committed to serving different needs within the community and using his experiences for his own personal development as well. His hard work and enthusiasm for helping others has prepared him for a bright future. All of Rafael’s efforts are a wonderful example of how important it is for our youth to be actively committed to improving their communities. Congratulations to Rafael for earning this award and I wish him good luck as he continues to serve Kodiak.”
Rafael Bitanga poses with his Congressional Award Medal with his mother, two sisters and Congressman Don Young.
“The process has been long, but is worth all of the effort,” said Rafael Bitanga. “Now that I think about it, the things I did throughout the journey were things I always did and I didn’t even have to change a thing. I just needed to focus on them more in order to see improvement. The Congressional Award should be a focus for students in high school so that all of us will be challenged and in the end we will feel most satisfied because we know it was our own initiative and not something that others wanted for us."
Rafael Bitanga began his journey to earn the Congressional Award two years ago as he became involved in different organizations, sports and other extracurricular activities. Bitanga earned his community service hours as he volunteered at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Kodiak Brother Francis Shelter, and the Kodiak Juvenile Justice Court. Bitanga participated in cross country, track and field while also exploring photography, videography and music. Bitanga is a senior at Kodiak High School.
Since 1979, the Congressional Award program has been the United States Congress’ way of recognizing young Americans for outstanding service. The program is open to students from ages 13 to 23. Silver Medalists must participate in at least 200 hours of voluntary service, 100 hours of personal development and physical fitness hours respectively and a four consecutive night expedition or exploration to earn this honor.