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THIS IS HOME: Williamstown teen earns medal from Congress

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 6:08 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - UPDATE: 10/9/2020

For the first time virtually, Congress awarded 478 kids nationwide this year with the highest of youth honors: a Congressional Award Gold Medal. One of these prestigious medals now hangs around the neck of a Williamstown teenager.

Her name is Lauren Sexton, and while she makes playing the guitar look easy, Congressional Award Gold Medals aren’t so easy to come by. According to a news release “Each Gold Medalist [this year] accumulated over 800 hours over the span of at least two years in the program areas of Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, and Physical Fitness in addition to planning and going on an in-depth Exploration/Expedition.”

Sexton has accumulated over 1,500 hours of community service; working in hospitals, food pantries and more. She even found a way to turn one of her favorite hobbies into a service project.

“I found a group, actually, it’s called Generations Unite,” said Sexton “And it’s kind of like a variety show and we go to different nursing homes and we perform for them. We do singing and dancing and comedy routines.”

Sexton is a practiced musician; she is well-versed in string instruments such as the guitar and violin, and she also knows her way around a mandolin and a piano. She even gave the accordion a shot at one time.

“Music is one of my great hobbies,” said Sexton.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s winners were mailed their gold medals. They were also invited to a virtual ceremony where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated them on receiving such a high honor.

Sexton isn’t the first person to earn a Congressional Award Gold Medal in her family. Her older sister won one two years before she did, and she says seeing her sister win one made her want to get one too. But for Sexton, there is another reward that comes with community service. Playing music and helping others is a reward in and of itself.

“It’s really awesome to be able to do something I really enjoy and feel like I’m able to share that joy with other people in the community and help make a difference,” said Sexton.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Williamstown teenager is among 478 young people to receive one of the nation’s highest youth honors this year.

Lauren Sexton recently won a Congressional Gold Medal for her community service.

The homeschooled senior has logged over 1500 hours of community service. She and her sister, who earned the same Congressional honor a few years ago, started their own service group that tours nursing homes to perform music and comedy.

Sexton says she loves to play music and learn new instruments, so it’s a great environment for her to serve her community.

“It’s really awesome to be able to do something that I really enjoy and share that joy with other people while making a difference,” said Sexton.

On top of that, she has volunteered at area hospitals, food pantries and more.

If you want to know more about Sexton, tune in to WTAP in the coming weeks as we hear more from her in our This Is Home segment.

Copyright 2020 WTAP. All rights reserved.

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