HEWITT, Texas (FOX 44) – One of the highest honors presented to youth by the U.S. Congress was awarded to a Midway High School senior.

The Midway Independent School District says Eliana White spent approximately 1,300 hours volunteering as she worked to earn the Congressional Award Bronze Medal – which honors students for setting personally challenging goals and meeting the needs of their community.

The Congressional Award Program was founded in 1979 to recognize initiative, service and achievement and requires honorees to set and work toward goals in four program areas – voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. 

To fulfill her public service goals, Eliana served the community through several local nonprofits – including the Hewitt Public Library, Mission Waco and Caritas. As a volunteer, she taught children creative arts, helped with their homework, served food to families and sorted clothes.

Additionally, for her personal development goals, she logged over 650 hours building her music skills through one-on-one training, rhythm and ear training, and studying music theory. She also spent nearly 400 hours weight training, biking, and running to improve her swim times and meet her physical fitness goals. 

For her expedition/exploration, Eliana planned a trip to New York City to immerse herself in the city as a cultural center. 

Midway ISD says Eliana plans to attend Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in the Chicago area, and hopes to one day become a member of the Navy or Air Force Band. She said earning a Congressional Award set her up for success by showing her that daily discipline matters.

However, for Eliana, the most impactful takeaway from her experience is the importance of helping others. 

“My faith teaches me that there is a bigger picture to life and that not everything is about me,” she said. “Every day I can do something to help make another person’s day a bit better. We can all do something to help someone else.”