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Jake Vandenburg, a San Clemente resident and senior at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, was honored at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda on Saturday, Nov. 9, as one of the Southern California recipients of this year’s Congressional Awards.

A Congressional Award is given to young Americans who have enrolled in the national program and achieved their goals in various program areas such as Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness and Expedition/Exploration.

Jake Vandenburg, a San Clemente resident and senior at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, receives a Congressional Award at the Richard Nixon Library on Nov. 9. Photo: Courtesy of Vandenburg family

Vandenburg was one of the recipients of this year’s awards from California’s 24th-53rd congressional districts. U.S. Representatives Gil Cisneros, CA-39, Judy Chu, CA-27, and Katie Porter, CA-45, presented Vandenburg and his fellow honorees with medals during a ceremony at the Nixon Library this past weekend.

“The Congressional Award was a really great experience where I learned a lot of important life lessons and I am grateful for this experience and the opportunity to help others in the community,” the awardee said in an email to San Clemente Times.

He received the Silver Medal at this year’s ceremony and will be receiving the Gold Medal in April 2020.

Vandenburg’s accomplishment in public service included volunteering with organizations including the Special Camp for Special Kids, the OC Junior Lifeguards and Soul Surf. His personal development and fitness included work with local surf coach Dave Post and surf photographer Jake McDaniel.

His expedition included traveling to two countries, while immersing himself in the language, customs and culture.

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