After practicing their role-playing skills and learning about parliamentary procedures during weekly meetings with Harvard Model Congress advisor and Social Studies teacher Alicia Curlew, 20 Onteora High School students participated in a simulated legislative session held in Boston on February 23-26.
The following students attended: Grade 12 students LilyAnn Avery, Milo Battista, Liam Bertheaud, Noelle Crandell, Ruby Gallin, Ari Green, Eleanor Schackne-Martello, Auden Stellavato, Maeve Turck, Trapper VanDreason, Charlie Weisz-Hoolihan and Takemi Sono-Knowles; Grade 11 students Kelly Wen, Noah Makowski, James Lynch, Benjamin Cox and Oscar Espinoza; Grade 10 students Lily McNamara, Eleanor Wyman and Grade 9 student Lucia McDonagh.
Students were assigned the roles of current members of Congress and played those roles throughout the conference. During the simulation, students met in committees, wrote and debated bills and then voted on those bills — just as the real Congress does. Bills that passed in their committees were then presented to the full House and Senate to be further debated and voted on.
A number of students argued and judged four fictional cases in a Supreme Court simulation. In addition, some wrote a constitution from scratch as the original members of the original Constitutional Convention, while others acted as Belgium dealing with the July crisis of 1914 on the Historical Committee.
Senior Maeve Turck, who played the role of Belgium, said the experience was “a ton of fun” and a great learning opportunity. “I gained a lot from the experience,” she added, “especially when it comes to my public speaking skills and my ability to formulate effective arguments efficiently.”
Special congratulations go to Ari Green, who won Best Delegate for the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. Ari co-authored a bill on wildfire management that passed in his committee as well as the full Senate
“I am so proud of all of the hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm that our students bring to Harvard Model Congress,” said Curlew. “They represent our school well amid many prestigious private school delegations.”