• A second Bear earns 2022 Congressional Award gold medal from U.S. Congress

    Welles McDevitt portrait

    As we noted earlier this fall, the Congressional Award gold medal is the highest honor presented to youth by the U.S. Congress. In September, we shared that young alum Andy Kim (BA ’22) had earned the award — only to learn that he wasn’t the only Bear so honored this year!

    Welles McDevitt, a freshman from North Texas, was also among the select recipients of the 2022 Congressional Award gold medal. Over the last five years, McDevitt has spent countless hours completing the award’s requirements for public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.

    McDevitt’s physical fitness goal came through his love of running and being a part of his high school’s cross country team. He was able to run a mile in 4 minutes 30 seconds, and run a 5k in less than 16 minutes — among his many accomplishments with the team. For public service, McDevitt volunteered 525 hours throughout high school, helping a variety of organizations and people in need — including the homeless, elderly, adults with special needs, veterans, hospitalized children, and those living in assisted living and memory care facilities.

    During his time serving in the community, “I became more empathetic, more patient, and I understood the importance of grace for all,” McDevitt says.

    To complete the personal development requirements, McDevitt designed and built a personal comuter and worked two part-time jobs. And for the expedition/exploration portion, he planned a virtual trip to Paris during COVID that included tours of museums, cooking, researching national landmarks and parks, and watching documentaries.

    “When I first started working on the Congressional Award, I was a 13-year-old eighth grader who had no idea what high school was going to look like,” says McDevitt. “I appreciated getting to set and achieve goals through this award, and I discovered a lot about myself along the way.”

    As a freshman at Baylor, McDevitt is studying psychology, with hopes to be a counselor one day. As he was considering where he wanted to go to college, Baylor stood out for a couple of reasons.

    “I fell in love with Baylor the first time I visited!” he remembers. “I appreciated the school’s commitment to service and helping those in need. I talked to students who all said how dedicated the faculty and staff are to students’ well-being and success.”

    And yes, he did run the Bear Trail during his first visit to see if he liked running on campus. He did.

    As McDevitt considers the future, he looks forward to meeting new friends and getting involved in the community right here in Waco.

    Sic ’em, Welles!

    [We learned of this story from a Bear who shared her Baylor pride. Do you know of an inspiring story, news item, or just a fun link that makes you proud of Baylor and the Baylor family? Let us know! Click here to submit your point of pride!]