Shrewsbury: This past summer, Red Bank Regional (RBR) senior and Shrewsbury resident Wylie Bogdon did a little site-seeing in our nation’s capital. Along the way, he paused to become part of Washington D.C. majesty when he received the Congressional Gold Medal award in a Capital Hill ceremony. Wylie was honored along with other national gold medal winners and personally received his award from his congressman, Rush Holt, who conversed with his constituents on the amazing efforts that culminated in this accolade.
The gold medal represents the highest honor achievable in the Congressional Award program, which was founded 33 years ago to recognize initiative, achievement and service of young Americans from 14 to 23 years of age. In a 50-page plus document, applicants detail the number of hours they spend during a finite period of time in four categories: (1) self improvement, (2) physical fitness, (3) volunteer public service, (3) expedition and exploration experiences. They can qualify in ascending order for the bronze, silver, gold certificates and bronze, silver and gold medals--the more hours, the higher level of award.
What makes Wylie Bogdon’s accomplishment so amazing is that he bypassed the first five levels.
“I was told to try for the bronze or silver but I just wanted to shoot for the top.”, said Wylie. He subsequently received all six awards simultaneously.
When asked what inspired this achievement, he replied, “My two older sisters had both achieved the gold award and I thought I would continue the family tradition.”
From September 2009, Wylie recorded over 400 hours he served on the Shrewsbury and Little Silver first aid and fire squads. He spent over 200 hours in self-improvement honing his culinary skills in the RBR Culinary Club as well as in various jobs he held for local restaurants. Over 800 hours of physical fitness was accomplished as both a football and lacrosse player on RBR athletic teams. He met his expedition and exploration challenges by planning and executing a family white-water rafting adventure in the river rapids of Colorado.
His school counselor, Chris Desiere, coached Wylie as he pursued the award. Desiere said, “When Wylie is determined to succeed at something there is no stopping him. I was amazed at the amount of hours Wylie was willing to put in to the Gold Congressional Medal. He was my first student to complete the task, but not the first to try. He stayed organized and focused. I couldn’t be more proud or happier for him.”
Wylie is now applying to colleges, and is hoping to achieve yet another goal in gaining acceptance to the United States Coast Guard Academy. A member of RBR’s Sports Medicine and Management Academy, he hopes to someday become a nurse anesthetist.