BHS senior, teacher honored with Congressional Award

BHS senior, teacher honored with Congressional AwardSIERRA SANDS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy presented the Congressional Merit Awards to students in the 23rd District, including Burroughs High School (BHS) senior Megan Small and teacher Laura Larson.

According to BHS Principal Carrie Cope, Megan was chosen by staff based on the criteria for the award — which include maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher while exemplifying leadership, involvement in extracurricular activities, citizenship, volunteerism and community service.

“I felt very honored when I learned I was chosen,” said Megan. “There are certainly many deserving people at Burroughs, and specifically in my grade.”

She also attributed the available opportunities offered at Burroughs and in the community as reasons she has been able to achieve what she has.

Megan’s involvement at BHS include serving in several positions for the BHS Key Club, National Honor Society and Associated Student Body. She has also participated on the IWV Swim Team since 2008, and is a four-year varsity letter recipient and current captain of the BHS swim team. She has also earned a varsity letter for Cross Country, and last year placed 13th in the CIF Southern Section Division Finals.

Out in the community she is just as busy, volunteering for the Great Strides Walk almost every year since it began in 2008. She also participated in the Sierra Service Project, which performs summer mission trips to help build facilities and gather resources for those living in underprivileged areas. She has been involved in Girl Scouts of America for 12 years, earning the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. She also works for China Lake MWR as a certified water safety instructor and employee of the fitness staff.

Some of her most memorable experiences have been the time she has spent with her friends. “Trips with the sports teams were always fun. I have enjoyed all the school events I have been involved in and am able to attend. Homecoming week is my favorite week of the year!”

Following graduation, she plans to pursue a degree from University of Alabama. “I have always enjoyed business concepts and financial applications, so I think finance is an area of study I am interested in and can succeed at.”

In accordance with the tradition of the merit awards, Megan chose a teacher with whom she could share the honor.

“I chose Ms. [Laura] Larson because as my ASB teacher, she has had a profound influence on my high school experience,” said Megan.

“She has inspired me to explore my role as a leader and what I can get done when I put my mind to it. She has also encouraged me to take time to enjoy myself and not stress as much.

In our three years together there have been many great memories, moments of growth and lessons I will not forget. I am truly grateful for her.”

Ms. Larson has been at BHS for 16 years, and has served as the ASB advisor, American Government teacher, and head basketball coach.

“She is supportive of students and tries to get them involved in activities. She will help any student. She truly cares about them,” said Principal Cope.

“When Megan asked to share this experience with her, I was honored,” said Larson. “I have watched her grow into an incredible young lady. I am so privileged to get to be a part of her journey.”

Larson credited Megan’s drive and determination as two critical qualifiers for the award. “Megan is one of the top students in her class, she takes all honors/AP classes … everything Megan does she puts her heart and soul into it. Megan has a drive in her to be successful but also Megan is kind, compassionate, and considerate to the people around her and that is why she deserves this award.

I hope Megan takes the sense of pride she feels when she puts in the hard work and accomplishes her goals. I also hope Megan continues to set a schedule for herself to keep herself organized. Lastly, I hope Megan remembers to take joy with her and have some fun because she has worked very hard over the last four years and deserves to have fun!”

Ms. Larson had high hopes for Megan’s future. “She will accomplish everything she puts her mind to because I have seen her do that over and over throughout the years. I know Megan will be happy and loving her life because she works hard and knows what she deserves and she will not settle for anything less.”

Laura Austin Photo: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy presented the Congressional Merit Awards to Burroughs High School senior Megan Small and teacher Laura Larson.

Story First Published: 2022-04-29