Eighteen upper school students participated in the virtual Harvard Model Congress this year. They served on the President's Cabinet, in the House and Senate, and as attorneys before the Supreme Court. Three Maret students won awards: Maria ‘22 for Best Delegate on the Senate Judiciary, Ishaan ‘22 for Best Delegate on the National Security Council, and Thomas ‘21, who received Honorable Mention for his work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Over the course of three intensive days, students participated in simulations of the three branches of government. They argued cases, gave speeches, and negotiated bills.
Maria drafted two bills, one proposing the elimination of gerrymandering and another aimed at minimizing the harms of the death penalty. “The most challenging part of the experience was debating about and drafting bills that effectively combined the priorities of both the Democratic and Republican parties in order to have the legislation supported by both sides of the aisle and pass,” she said.
Other issues the Maret delegates wrestled with included domestic and international human trafficking, women’s health as a national security concern, China’s growing influence in Africa, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and the Iran nuclear crisis.
For returning delegates, the virtual format was a complicating twist. Ishaan pointed out, “A lot of Model Congress relies on the ability to connect with people through convincing rhetoric, but on Zoom, it can get very hard to relate to or engage with people on a screen.” Thomas was surprised at how “lively debate was and how close we felt as a committee despite the barriers created by the virtual setting.”
Participating in model congress requires a great deal of preparation—learning procedures, positions, and how to write bills; practicing debating skills; and researching issues—kudos to all of Maret’s participating delegates!