Abigail da Silva, 16, a junior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, earned the Congressional Silver Award, presented to young Americans who completed at least 400 hours of service in four categories: volunteer public service, physical fitness, personal development, and an expedition.
Congressman Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington presented her with the award Jan. 11.
The Congressional Silver Award requires at least one year of effort with a minimum of 400 hours and a two-day expedition. Abby completed 200 volunteer hours, 350 hours preparing for a hiking expedition and 350 hours improving her drawing and sculpture skills.
During that time, she entered a number of art competitions, earning a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, also presented by Van Hollen.
One of her works, “Classy in Yellow,” was awarded a Silver Key by the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest in the category of ceramics and glass.
She also completed the requirements for the Girl Scout Gold Award with a “More Mosaics” project making art for public spaces with young Girl Scouts.
Abby’s volunteer service included: guiding younger people to make garden inspired art at Brookside Gardens in Silver Spring, working two summers as an assistant at Concord Hill School in Chevy Chase, summer art camp time at Roundhouse Theater in Bethesda, and as an assistant for the Farm and Garden section of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.