Daniela Rodriguez-Luna, ‘20, recently became a Congressional Award Gold Medalist, the highest honor bestowed upon youth civilians through the U.S. Senate and House. The program recognizes initiative, leadership, and service, representing the culmination of over 400 hours of community service: 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and the completion of a 5-day cultural exploration.
In 2013, Rodriguez-Luna was introduced to the program by Dr. Jean Maculaitis, an owner of a testing and consulting office, and was immediately interested. Rodriguez-Luna, who studied Economics at TCNJ, was attracted to this program because it “focuses on different areas of development from helping others to focusing on your health and goals.” She said, “you cannot grow by focusing solely on one aspect; you have to work on each part to be the strongest version of yourself.”
After earning the silver medal in 2015, Rodriguez-Luna continued the program because it encouraged her to set objectives and goals like a road map, even when life gets busy. “Getting the gold medal was my goal from the very beginning and I am excited that I earned it this year,” said Rodriguez-Luna.
“The best projects in life are those you do with passion and heart,” said Rodriguez-Luna. “I realized that it is the small actions that make the greatest difference in people’s lives and that when we make time to help others the effects last a lifetime.”