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South Jordan Journal

Bingham High senior receives congressional awards

Jan 27, 2022 11:53AM ● By Julie Slama

Bingham High senior John Evershed poses with the bronze and silver congressional medals he earned, and a third coin presented to him by U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens. (Photo courtesy of Emily Evershed)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

When Bingham High student John Evershed recently met U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens to be congratulated on earning the congressional bronze and silver medals, the former Oakland Raiders safety let the high school senior try on his Super Bowl ring.

“It was really big,” Evershed said. “I put it on my finger, and it had no grip. It would have slipped right off.”

Evershed not only posed with Owens’ ring, but also with his two medals after talking to him about the accomplishment. Owens also shared with him a bit of advice.

“He told me to read. He said growing up, reading was the thing that really set him apart, helped him in school and in his wisdom,” Evershed said, adding that he planned to look into “The Five Love Languages,” a book that the representative recommended.

Hopefully he can find the time in his schedule. which already includes serving as the senior class secretary, a National Honors Society member, performing in Bingham High’s Madrigals, Acapella and theatre productions, studying for Advanced Placement classes and being a member of the South Jordan Youth Council. 

Evershed also is working to earn the gold congressional medal, which traditionally is presented in Washington, D.C.

The Congressional Award recognizes youths’ initiative, service and achievement through voluntary service, expedition and exploration, personal development and physical fitness.

With an adviser, Evershed set goals in each of the areas. To achieve his bronze medal, for example, he needed 100 hours of public service and 50 hours of personal development. The silver medal is double those numbers. 

Youth can register for the program at 13.5 years of age and there was no doubt in his mind he would participate.

“I learned about the Congressional Award from my mom as she did it when she was growing up,” he said. 

For his service, Evershed has been serving the city by being on the youth council, and helping with the community service projects involved with it from the annual summer festival to ushering at events. He also tutored students and helped with the school’s paper recycling program as part of National Honors Society. His service hours also came from his Boy Scout Eagle project of helping organize kits for victims of domestic violence and refugees.

Evershed already is on his way to earning his gold medal. He volunteered with a humanitarian effort for two and one-half weeks this past summer to build a school in the small town of Cusco, Peru. 

“It was a great experience. I wanted to give more than I already had, outside of my community, and serve the people. I just felt so much love when I was there, and that spirit of love and service that I got from it was just so rewarding,” he said.

With personal development, he set a goal to improve upon his performing arts talent and participated in the school’s productions. He also is concentrating on improving his piano playing skills, an instrument he has played since he was 8 years old.

“That’s always been a goal of mine, to continue to work at the piano and to get better,” he said. 

With his physical fitness goal, he took advantage of the time during COVID-19 to learn to play golf and took lessons.

“I was able to go every Monday to the course. It was something I wanted to do. My grandpa has always played and loved it. I’ve seen him and all his sons go golfing together and I’ve always wanted to be a part of that,” he said.

He also completed the hours by playing Junior Jazz basketball.

“I have a group of friends that we always get together during the winter to play. It’s been really fun,” he said.

Also, during the COVID-19 summer of 2020, Evershed planned and organized an entire vacation for he and his family, from the driving to the meals and the expenses along the way. The family traveled to Colorado, seeing places they had never visited, such as Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes and Mesa Verde national parks. 

“I learned that I never really appreciated how much planning actually goes into these types of trips, like just planning the gas alone – knowing where the gas stations are and the prices. It was just that world of reality opened up to me. I’m just used to having the meals planned for me and everyone in the family so that planning process was really new to me,” he said. 

Evershed said it wasn’t just accounting for the hours, but also writing and organizing his work toward his goals that he summarized and submitted. He worked with a program manager for the approval process.

“I’m really pretty close to my gold. I hope to have my paper submitted in January and be able to receive it in June,” Evershed said. “What I’ve already learned is just the love I have for service. I get such a good feeling when I go out, I serve my community. I see the smiles on people’s faces and that’s really rewarding to me. I also see the importance of goal making and goal keeping. I wanted 200 hours of piano by the end of the year. So I really tried hard and worked hard at the piano. I was able to feel that sense of accomplishment really motivated me through receiving this award. I see this as a symbol of leadership in a way; I think the award will help me realize my potential in the world.”