Student Receives Congressional Gold Medal Award for Achievements - Kingswood Oxford

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October 12, 2023

Student Receives Congressional Gold Medal Award for Achievements

This past summer, Nicolas Tippner ‘24 was awarded the esteemed Congressional Award and received a gold medal for his achievement. The Congressional Award provides opportunities for students to discover and celebrate their potential by achieving personal goals. The award requires achievements in four areas; volunteerism, character development, fitness, and completing planning and execution of a trip.


A long and invested process, the challenge came with some steep requirements including 400 hours of community service, 200 hours of character development, and 200 hours of fitness. Tipper rose to the challenge and pushed himself both physically and mentally. One daunting aspect was managing his time in relation to community service hours. Tippner took on several jobs including volunteering as a ski patroler at Mt. Southington, working toward his Eagle Scout badge, being a counselor in training at Winding Trails summer camp, and donating his time at Midstate Hospital in a variety of patient, nurse, and doctor support roles. 


For the personal development component, Tippner enrolled in German school. As Tippner’s father is German, he has participated in school as a youngster and is fluent in the language. He communicates with his grandparents and family in Germany, continues to learn about the culture, and practices his speaking, reading, and writing of the language.


For his physical fitness component, Tippner used KO sports as a base and supplemented it with his own workout routines.

Lastly, for the trip portion, Tippner planned the itinerary for a two-week summer trip to Italy for his entire family which included traveling to Rome, Naples, Capri, Milan, boating along the Amalfi Coast, and exploring the ruins in Pompeii. He organized the logistics and worked within a budget. 


“The hardest part for me wasn’t the hours you had to commit to earn the award, but that you had to complete all of the tasks within 24 months,” said Tippner. This meant that on top of schoolwork, homework, sports, and extracurricular activities, he committed at least an hour, if not more, each day, towards his goal.


Tippner submitted a write-up of all the components into an online application. Tippner’s advisor, Ms. McKee, was a help through the process. He also had to submit references from each volunteer portion. After a few weeks of reviewing all the submissions, the Congressional Award organization asked additional questions and then made a final decision.


Only a few hundred students across the country received the award, and Tippner was proud and honored to be one of them. The award trip to D.C. was one for the books and included three days of celebration and experiences. The group saw a Washington Nationals Game and had the opportunity to view a variety of political panels at the Capitol with a focus on social impact and advocacy. The recipients visited the location of the Old Supreme Court and were given passes to view the House of Representatives and the Senate in session.


One particularly exciting part for Tippner was during their visit to the House of Representatives, the group listened into the hearings to impeach President Biden. He met with Connecticut Representative Chris Murphy. The final night the winners were treated to a formal dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building. Tippner’s entire family, including his parents, and three sisters accompanied him on the trip.


“I met a lot of students from across the country, definitely lots of high school students, but also some older students, as well,” said Tippner. 


Looking back on the entire experience, one particular highlight for Tippner was volunteering at Midstate Hospital. He acted as a patient/aid volunteer, working with the medical team and with patients. He aided in meal prep and delivery, filled linen closets, assisted the nurse techs, and shadowed the doctors on their rounds.


As someone on a pre-med track, Tippner’s experience was especially exciting and useful. He was able to see what it was like to work in a hospital, versus a private practice. Through this experience, he recognized his preference for a hospital setting, and Tippner’s even-keeled and level-headed demeanor is a well-suited hospital environment.


The time, effort, and commitment to the process of applying for this award was all-encompassing, and there is no question that the trajectory for this young man is bright, no matter where his path leads him. 

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