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Rep. Waters Presents Congressional Award to Thomas Mingkai Li in Torrance at Bishop Montgomery High School

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Rep. Waters Presents Congressional Award to Thomas Mingkai Li in Torrance at Bishop Montgomery High School


LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) presented Thomas Mingkai Li, a student at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, with the Silver Congressional Award – the U.S. Congress’ highest honor for youth. Mingkai earned the award after completing a rigorous two-year process and demonstrating excellence in four areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition and exploration.

Mingkai is a graduating senior and a resident of the 43rd Congressional District city of West Carson. He was born in Shanghai, China where he studied only one year of English before moving to the United States at age 13. In order to fulfill his Congressional Award requirements, Mingkai volunteered at PVNet, a South Bay technology center; dedicated 10 hours every week to practicing clarinet; participated in 50 and 100-yard swimming events as a part of the Bishop Montgomery swim team; and planned and executed a 400-mile trip to Yosemite National Park.

Congresswoman Waters presented Mingkai with the award during an assembly at Bishop Montgomery High School. She was joined by Mingkai’s mother, Mrs. Bin Li, Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey, Geoff Rizzo and George Chen of the Torrance City Council, and Mingkai’s Congressional Award Advisors and Validators: his primary Advisor and guidance counselor, Ms. Jennifer Sabol; his principal Dr. Jim Garza; his volunteer assignment supervisor, Ted Vegvari; and his music teacher, Eric Hankey. 

“As the Congressional representative for much of the South Bay, it gives me great pleasure to present Congress’ highest honor for America’s youth, the Congressional Award, to Bishop Montgomery’s own Thomas Mingkai Li,” said Congresswoman Waters during the event. “I am so very proud of Mingkai. I am certain that the activities and organizational skills involved in his pursuit of the Congressional Award have helped him ‘become the best person he can be,’ and that the knowledge and attributes he acquired will serve him well through college and beyond.”

The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ most prestigious award for youth. The program is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. Mingkai is the first Congressional Award recipient from the 43rd Congressional District since 2013.#

Photo Caption: (Left to Right) Bishop Montgomery Principal Dr. James Garza; Volunteer Assignment Supervisor Ted Vegvari; Guidance Counselor Jennifer Sabol; Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey; Thomas Mingkai Li; Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43); Mrs. Bin Li (mother); Torrance City Councilmember (and Bishop Montgomery Alumnus) Geoff Rizzo; Torrance City Councilmember George Chen

Source Press Release Maxine Waters

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