By Jeff Keeling
Sophia Liu, a Science Hill High School junior, recently earned the Congressional Award Silver Medal after completing requirements in four areas. The accomplishment won her a personal visit from First District Congressman Phil Roe (R-Johnson City), who presented her with the award.
Liu, a 4.0 student and the daughter of Xuefeng Liu and Yueming Jiang, said her efforts took her to the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home, where she met a number of military veterans while completing more than 200 hours of volunteer service.
The U.S. Congress’ award for young Americans ages 14 to 23, the non-partisan, voluntary, non-competitive award covers four program areas: volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.
Liu played piano for her personal development section and participated in gymnastics for the physical fitness portion. She took a two-night trip to Atlanta, Ga., for the expedition/exploration requirement, visiting the Jimmy Carter Museum and Margaret Mitchell House, among other sites.
At the VA, Liu worked in the intensive care unit, assisting the medical staff, and also volunteered with the nursing department, making copies and performing other support duties. She said that still left her time to meet a number of veterans.
“A lot of them would come in to the volunteer office and we would talk with them,” Liu said. “We also got to go around and sing happy birthday to them.
“It was really great. They had a lot of really great stories from their time in the military.”
Liu is considering attending college in the North and is interested in science, but also enjoys the mock trial program at Science Hill.