Congdon, a standout gymnast for the Blue Wave, was presented with the 2013 CAS Scholar Athlete Award, an accolade reserved for only two departing seniors (one girl and one boy) per high school.
"I was thrilled," Darien gymnastics coach Ellie Southworth said. "She is absolutely the right person to receive the award. She's the definition of a scholar athlete. She takes her studies very seriously."
Along with soccer and tennis player Jeff Sload, Congdon won the exclusive award, which is presented to those "demonstrating exemplary academic and athletic careers including participating in an interscholastic athletics; possessing personal standards and achievements that are a model to others; exhibiting outstanding school; and community service and carrying themselves with high levels of integrity, self-discipline and courage."
"It was really special to me," Congdon said. "I was really flattered because I've been working at gymnastics for basically my whole life."
Congdon competed on the gymnastics team during all four years of her tenure at Darien High School, but it was hardly her first foray into the world of gymnastics. In fact, Congdon got her start in the sport shortly after she could walk, indicating that she was just 2 years old when she first gave it a shot at the Darien YMCA.
"I think it was just a way for me to get out energy and do something fun," Congdon said. "I ended up loving it and never stopped."
Congdon's passion for gymnastics led her to compete for the Darien YMCA for six years, the last four of which coincided with her high school years.
"They're pretty different. The YMCA is more of an individual competition. You're really doing it for yourself mostly, but the high school team definitely has more of a team aspect," Congdon said. "You're really not looking at individual results. There's a lot more team camaraderie on the high school side of things."
One of only two seniors on the high school team, Congdon captained the Blue Wave to a sixth place finish in FCIACs and a seventh place finish in the Class M State competition.
Although the Darien High gymnastics team is somewhat short in numbers, Congdon believes the current unit is on the rise and that the YMCA serves as a great feeder program for the future of Blue Wave gymnastics.
"The team has always been a small team, but hopefully it'll still continue to thrive," Congdon said. "The YMCA program has been a good feeder program for the team. Almost every girl on the team does some sort of YMCA gymnastics, so I hope it continues and the team remains strong."
Congdon competed at the high-pressured Class M State meet this past season, posting a 7.57 on beam and a 7.350 on bars to help Darien claim seventh place.
"(The big meets) have been fun. As a freshman, I was injured and couldn't compete in FCIACs. I learned a lot from the older girls who were on the team when I was younger," Congdon said. "I would say balance beam is my favorite and also my best. I just like it a lot."
According to her coach, Congdon sat out her sophomore season with an injury, but she remained close to the team throughout the season.
"She never missed a practice and she was a good role model with her academics," Southworth said. "Caroline had maturity and leadership skills that you dream about as a coach. She pulled the girls together when the team needed to be pulled together and got them excited about the competition."
In addition to her dedication to gymnastics, Congdon is also a four-year member of the school's debate team and served as the captain during her senior year. Congdon is also on the math team and is part of the Garden Club at Darien High School.
"The Garden Club was started two years before I got to Darien High School. It was run by a teacher who taught me in biology," Congdon said. "A lot of my friends joined, and we maintain gardening at Darien High School."
Congdon is also involved with the Joshua House Fund, which has built 18 homes for needy families since it was formed in 1997.
"My mom had been involved in an organization when I was younger. We went on a trip to Kentucky where they build houses for underprivileged families, and I was really moved by it," Congdon said.
Congdon is off to Princeton University in the fall, though there isn't a varsity gymnastics team. Even if there was one, Congdon indicated she may be moving in a different direction.
"I'm going to try to do intramurals or club sports," said Congdon, who is considering chemical and biological engineering as a major. "Gymnastics has been amazing, but it has been very hard on my body. I'm thinking about maybe crew or swimming."
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