Lake Placid High School juniors and cousins Kacie and Colby Royce had just one thing to do before dismissal from school Monday - receive a silver Congressional Award presented to them by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fl.
A gathering in the school's media center, including Assistant Principal Valerie James and School Board Vice Chairman Richard Norris, were on hand for the presentation.
Kacie and Colby's grandmother encouraged them to work toward the award, which requires voluntary public service along with achieving goals in physical fitness, personal development and expedition/exploration.
Kacie's uncle earned the award.
"He got into UF University of Florida and it looked really good on his resume and it's really time consuming," Kacie said.
The students started the program in their freshman year.
They earned a bronze medal last year, which requires 100 hours of voluntary public service, 50 hours of both personal development and physical fitness and one overnight of expedition/exploration.
To earn the silver medal the students repeated the hour-requirement for the bronze and spent two consecutive overnights of expedition/exploration.
It takes about a year to earn a medal, but the gold medal, for which they are working toward, takes about two years because it doubles the silver's requirements, Kacie said.
Kacie volunteered one day a week at Florida Hospital Lake Placid making blankets for the children at St. Mary's Hospital in Palm Beach Gardens.
Colby preformed her volunteer services through her participation in her school's student government association and the honor society.
After shaking the students' hands, Rooney said Kacie learned the importance of being a responsible employee by performing the required tasks at Chef Buddy's.
She fulfilled her physical fitness goals, to improve her skills as a cheerleader, by performing a backhand spring and a basket toss toe-touch, he said. For the exploration component, Kacie went to St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, where she was surrounded by historic and cultural sites.
Rooney said for personal development Colby improved her skills in ballet pointe, tap dancing and jazz and in physical fitness set goals to decrease her times in the 500-yard freestyle swim and 100-yard butterfly.
For exploration, Colby went to New York City, where she immersed herself in the Big Apple and visited historic and cultural sites of importance, he said.
Colby plans on attending either the University of Florida or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then enter a business-related field, possibly accounting and then possibly go to law school.
"I'm not sure about the law school part yet," she said.
Kacie is planning to apply to the University of Florida and other state universities to study to become a veterinarian.
Both of these girls are involved in all school activities as well as being academically strong, James said.
The Congressional Award was created by Congress to promote and recognize achievement and service in America's youth, ages 14 to 23.