2017 Gold Medalist Information

Congratulations on earning The Congressional Award Gold Medal, U.S. Congress’ highest honor for young Americans! The 2017 Gold Medal Ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Please find event information below to help you prepare for your trip as well as instructions on how to submit your RSVP and Biography. We will update this page as information is confirmed. Check back often.

YOUR RSVP AND BIOGRAPHY ARE DUE NO LATER THAN MAY 1, 2017. YOU MUST COMPLETE BOTH OF THESE ITEMS WHETHER YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE CEREMONY OR NOT.

After careful review and consideration, The Congressional Award Board of Directors has been forced to cancel plans to host the Recognition Dinner. This decision comes as a result of multiple variables, including the unprecedented number of Gold Medalists and overall lack of funding. Although this news is disappointing to us, the Foundation remains committed to providing a meaningful experience to our Gold Medalists through the two Gold Medal Ceremonies.

Please contact us at gold@congressionalaward.org or (202) 226-0130 if you have any questions about the ceremony or if you need to alter your RSVP.

Schedule of Events

GOLD MEDAL CEREMONIES
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
10:00 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium

The following states will be presented at the morning ceremony (10:00 a.m.)
Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, & Wyoming.

The following states will be presented at the afternoon ceremony (2:30 p.m.)
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, & West Virginia.

The Ceremonies will be held in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) Congressional Auditorium on Capitol Hill. All Medalists are provided with four (4) complimentary guest spaces at the Ceremony. Additional guest requests are due by May 1st and will be approved via email after May 10th. There is no charge for additional ceremony guests. However, we are limited based on the capacity of the room.

Medalists should arrive 45 minutes before your ceremony is scheduled to begin and guests may check in 20 minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. Medalists and families will need to enter through the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street. When entering the building, you will need to go through security (metal detector and x-ray machine for belongings). Please allow additional time. This is not like airport security and should only add 15-20 minutes of time to entry.

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center
First St. NE
Washington, DC 20515
The CVC is located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street.

Metro Accessible: Capitol South (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines) and Union Station (Red Line).

GROUP PHOTOS
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
12:00 p.m.
Capitol Reflecting Pool

Immediately following the first Ceremony, Medalists will be led to group photos. Medalists from the second Ceremony should arrive at the photo location no later than 11:45 a.m.

The group photos will be taken at the Capitol Reflecting Pool located west of 1st Street NW, in between Maryland and Pennsylvania Avenues.

RSVP

The deadline to submit your RSVP for the 2017 Gold Medal Ceremony & Events is May 1, 2017. Please submit the form below by the deadline whether you plan to attend the ceremony or not.

Biography

The deadline to submit your Biography for the 2017 Gold Medal Ceremony & Events is May 1, 2017.  Your Biography will be printed in the official ceremony program book and excerpts will be used in the ceremony script. A sample biography is available in the “Resources” tab.

Please submit the form below by the deadline whether you plan to attend the ceremony or not.

Resources

FAQ's

Utilize the Frequently Asked Questions below for clarifications you may have. If you still have questions after reviewing, please feel free to contact us at gold@congressionalaward.org. Please include the name of the Gold Medalist and we will respond to your inquiry.

What is the set-up for the Gold Medal Ceremony?

We have two ceremonies (a morning and an afternoon) in order to accommodate guests and family members in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium. The ceremonies are divided by state. Once we notify medalists of their appropriate ceremony time, we will work with the Congressional Offices to confirm your Representative’s attendance.

On the day of the Ceremony, Medalists are asked to check in for their ceremony 45 minutes before the scheduled start time, allowing National Staff time to prepare the Gold Medalists for the presentation. Guests will be able to check-in and enter the room 20 minutes before start time. The ceremony transpires much like a graduation commencement – including a color guard presentation, invocation, speakers, and a brief introduction of each Medalist as they receive their medals.

When will I know which ceremony I am in?

The following states will be presented at the morning ceremony (10:00 a.m.)
Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, & Wyoming.

The following states will be presented at the afternoon ceremony (2:30 p.m.)
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, & West Virginia.

Can I request a specific ceremony time?

No. We do not take requests for specific ceremony times as we cannot accommodate everyone. While we understand that a specific ceremony time may be preferred, we must be conscious of Congressional Offices’ schedules as well as other Medalists from your state.

Can I contact my Congressional Office to let them know about my Award?

Yes. You may reach out to your Congressional Office. However, this often leads to confusion within the offices regarding the event. We ask that you allow us to contact your Congressional Office about your attendance. If the office wants to reach out to you directly, we will release your contact information. It is imperative that we have your accurate contact information, including a means for contacting you while you are in Washington, D.C., as schedules change and you may need to be notified of changes while you are here.

What happens if my Member of Congress cannot attend?

We make every attempt to have your Representative present your Congressional Award. If your Representative can not make the presentation, we will ask another Member of Congress to step in to present your honor.

When do Medalists need to check in?

Medalists are asked to arrive 45 minutes before their assigned start time.

When do guests check in for the Ceremony?

Guests of Medalists may check-in for the Ceremony 20 minutes before start time. We request this time for a run down of the proceedings with our Medalists. Parents and guests will not be allowed to check in for the Ceremony until 20 minutes before start time. We ask that guests remain quiet if they choose to wait to check-in as the Capitol Visitor Center has normal business hours with functioning congressional offices during our Ceremonies. Guests may visit the nearby cafeteria in the interim.

Will there be a photographer at the Ceremony? Can my family take a picture of my presentation?

Pictures will be taken of each Medalist as they are presented with their Gold Medal. A print and web copy of the photo will be delivered to you in the weeks following the Gold Medal Ceremony, after you notify our photographer of your preferred picture (information will be given at the Ceremony). If you would like additional pictures, please contact our photographer (information to be provided). As we will be providing a picture of the presentation, we ask that family members and guests not attempt to take their own picture. Flash photography and maneuvering for a personal picture may interfere with our professional photographer and may obstruct the view of other families.

Where are the group photos taken? What if the location changes?

The group photos will be taken at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. We will provide walking instructions and a map when we get closer to the event.

Immediately following the first Ceremony, Medalists will be led by our staff to group photos. Medalists from the second Ceremony should arrive at the photo location by 11:45 a.m.

A large group shot will be taken of all Gold Medalists followed by smaller group shots based on affiliation (Air Force, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, etc). If you have an affiliation with any of our partners, please feel free to join the group photo for that organization.

How do we get to the Ceremony? Can we drive to the Capitol?

The Capitol Visitor Center is located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street. You will be required to go through security to enter the Capitol Visitor Center. Please allow 15-20 minutes to enter. There will be staff members holding signs after you pass through security to direct Medalists and their families to the check-in area and auditorium.

Before your visit please check out the list of Prohibited Items that are not able to pass through security and into the Capitol Visitor Center.

Parking is VERY limited around the Capitol. We recommend taking Metro (Washington, D.C.’s subway system) into the city for the day of the Ceremony. The Capitol Visitor Center is between two metro stops – Union Station on the Red Line and the Capitol South on the Blue/Orange/Silver Lines. Please visit www.wmata.com for details about the Metro System. You may also look into other ground transportation options like taxis.

What if I cannot attend the Gold Medal Ceremony?

If you are unable to attend the Washington, D.C. Ceremony, you will be given the option to have a local presentation (if you have not already) or have your medal mailed to you. We schedule the majority of local presentations after the Ceremony to allow for changes in schedules. We will mail out all materials to those who could not attend the Washington, D.C. Ceremony, including copies of the Program Book and the 2017 Gold t-shirt, after the event (usually mid-July).

If I am not attending the Ceremony in Washington, D.C., do I have to send in my RSVP forms and Biography?

Yes. We ask that you send in your RSVP Forms, even if you are not planning to attend the Ceremony in Washington, D.C. We also request information from you regarding your choice of presentation if you cannot attend, your t-shirt size, and your contact information. The Gold Medal Biographies appear in the Program Book, allowing an opportunity for all Gold Medalists to share their accomplishments in earning The Congressional Award. The Program Book is shared with Congressional Offices and all Gold Medalists. If we do not receive your Biography, it will not be included in the 2017 Gold Medal Program Book.

If I request a local presentation, what can I expect?

Following the Gold Medal Ceremony, if you have not had your local presentation, we will notify your local Congressional Office regarding your Award. Local presentations most often occur in local Congressional District Offices, allowing families and Medalists an opportunity for an intimate meeting with their Member of Congress. In July, you will receive the Gold Medal Packet from the National Office, including your Gold t-shirt and Program Book. If you have questions about your local ceremony, please contact us. If you move or change your contact information before your presentation is scheduled, please let us know.

If I request my medal to be mailed to me, what can I expect?

We will send your Gold Medal Packet, including your Gold Medal and any of your lower levels, your Gold t-shirt and Program Book in July. If you move, we request that you update your contact information with us. If you decide that you would actually like a local presentation, please let us know.

Can I come to next year’s Gold Medal Ceremony if I can’t make this one?

Probably not. You may request a deferral via email (gold@congressionalaward.org) before April 10, 2017. We offer deferrals to those who have extenuating circumstances that would not allow them to travel to Washington, D.C. for the appropriate ceremony. Deferrals have been granted in the past for military deployments, study abroad programs, and health issues. We will not make deferrals if you would like to wait for a sibling to be approved. If you need to request a deferral, please submit your request via email before April 10, 2017, including the reason for deferral. We cannot accept deferral requests if you simply want to change the year of your presentation or if you have a sibling that you would like to wait for. We will respond to your deferral request by April 20, 2017.

Is press contacted about my accomplishments?

Yes. We will notify the press contact on your RSVP submission before your presentation and then will follow up with any press organization who has shown interest with pictures and additional presentation information. While we do contact all press outlets submitted, it is up to the news organization to actually run the story.