• This Is Rutherford

This is Luke Carney

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo credits: Luke Carney


In December of 2018, Rutherford High School Junior, Luke Carney, registered to complete all of the requirements to earn a Congressional Award, the United States Congress’ Award for young Americans. Those who wish to pursue a Congressional Award must set challenging goals to earn volunteer hours through these four areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/ Exploration. This is Rutherford spoke with Luke Carney who devoted the past few years to achieve the goals he set to assist those in his community.


TIR: How many volunteer hours did you commit to and complete?

Luke Carney: I completed 100 Volunteer, 50 Personal Development, and 50 Physical Fitness hours. I also completed a two-Day (Virtual with Covid) exploration.


TIR: Which medal did you receive, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold?

LC: I received the Bronze award.

TIR: Why did you choose to pursue this goal?

LC: It was recommended to me by my Grandpa. I thought it was an excellent opportunity to help my community while I was helping myself get ready for college.


TIR: Who was your Advisor?

LC: Ms. Griggs, my High School Guidance Counselor. She was a HUGE help and assisted me with keeping me on time and to the task.


“I am beyond proud of Luke for working so hard over the past few years to earn his Congressional Award. Throughout the process, Luke has illustrated his discipline, motivation, and work ethic. The Congressional Award is really all about encouraging our young people to become leaders, and that is just what Luke is. Luke is a leader in the classroom, in the hallways, on the football field, and in the community. Working with Luke throughout the Congressional Award process showed me that Luke is a young person with unmatched character. I also saw how driven he is. The Congressional Award demands that candidates set a series of goals, and take the steps to accomplish those goals. While earning this prestigious award took time, Luke's ability to stick with the process, all the while balancing the responsibilities of being an exemplary student and athlete, shows just how committed he is in pursuit of his goals. Luke is well on his way to accomplishing great things, and everyone at RHS is rooting for him,” explained Ms. Olivia Griggs.


TIR: Which goals did you set?

LC: I wanted to be complete before I started applying to Colleges in the summer of 2021. Once I knew that the Kip Center could accommodate the number of hours I needed, I was on my way.


TIR: Where did you volunteer?

LC: I volunteered at the Kip Center and shoveled snow for one of Rutherford's elderly. Also, I coached youth basketball for Rutherford Recreation.


TIR: What did you do for your volunteer hours?

LC: At the Kip Center, I assisted senior citizens by bringing stuff in and out of their cars, bringing food and beverages to residents, and simply listening/trying to be a good friend/neighbor.


Through Rutherford Recreation, I am a Rutherford Youth Basketball Assistant Coach. I assisted with practices, taught fundamentals to the boys that were struggling while the coach ran drills with others, ran skills training drills, and assisted with coaching during games. I worked with the Coach, Michael Carney, to manage the team and leverage weekly skills training during the game. I also concentrated on helping bench players understand the game while the coach concentrated on the action on the floor.

TIR: Now that you have earned this Congressional medal, how do you feel about what you have accomplished?

LC: It was a lot of work but all in all, I feel great. It was nice to help the Youth and Seniors in Rutherford.


TIR: Why do you believe young people should volunteer in their communities?

LC: You get a lot out of it. Hard to pinpoint it exactly. Just get a great feeling watching a Rutherford senior citizen smile when you laugh at their joke or a young kid who can't wait to high-five you at practice when you are their coach.


Cathy Baviello, “Luke has been with us for three years. He is a very energetic, reliable young man. He was always willing to help at a moment’s notice. He also demonstrated an active interest in the manner he related with the Kip’s Center members. He always showed great respect and genuineness toward everyone. We really appreciate his participation in our volunteer program.”



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