Medals lined up at the Congressional Awards ceremony Aug. 6, 2014.
Medals lined up at the Congressional Awards ceremony Aug. 6, 2014.

Senator Robert Menendez honored 31 young people from across New Jersey during an address at the 2014 Annual Congressional Award Ceremony at Seton Hall Law School Aug. 6.

Pennington, Princeton and Robbinsville residents were among the honorees.

Congress established the Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, achievement and service in young people. It began as a bipartisan effort in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The original bill was sponsored by Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming and the late Congressman James Howard of New Jersey.

The legislation established the Congressional Award as a private-public partnership, which receives all funding from the private sector, and was originally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have each signed continuing legislation.

Open to 14 to 23 year olds, participants in the program earn bronze, silver and gold Congressional Award certificates and medals. Each level involves setting personal goals in four program areas: Volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.

Menendez awarded Eva Boal of Princeton and Lindsay Ramsland of Pennington gold Congressional Awards. Robbinsville resident Avani Pavuluri earned bronze and silver recognition.