Swing Vote: 33rd Annual Harvard Model Congress
From the floor of the "US House of Representatives" and the floor of the "US Senate," Miller School of Albemarle students were actively engaged in public discourse, vigorous debate, and discerning media reporting at the 33rd Annual Harvard Model Congress this past quarter in Boston, Massachusetts.
Loick Derquenne, Francois Dorion, Sirui Zhu, Wenhui Zhang, Dylan Shifflett, Andre Campos, and Simon Jones represented Miller School of Albemarle very impressively as Senators, House Representatives, and as a member of the media reporting on the work of 1,500 other high school students working in subcommittee sessions to draft and pass legislation over the course of four days.
Each Miller student was well-prepared in advance of the model congress having researched over twenty current challenging legislative topics including the fight against human trafficking, the Iran Nuclear Accords, and Common Core standards for public education. Each student worked effectively with their peers from many prestigious schools from across the county. Each prepared and delivered remarks in committee which led to consensus for legislative drafts, committee votes for legislation and proposals to the House and Senate. In all cases, it became evident that serious students with interest in public policy, government, and communication can achieve a great deal.
Late in the afternoon on Saturday, each committee and representative confronted a national ‘bio-terrorism crisis' that resulted in the quarantine of the Capital Building, bringing forward the reality of how to effectively respond to a serious situation in a responsible manner with changing and questionable information and suspect sources. This was truly a dynamic learning experience which brought new insights and perspectives to the students.
It was a privilege for participants in the Model Congress to have the opportunity to visit the Harvard University campus, observe classroom instruction, attend special speaker presentations on topics including the US Electoral College system, the US Economy, and the emerging power of Women in Politics.
The Harvard Model Congress Closing Ceremonies on Sunday featured remarks by the Honorable Beatriz Merino, former Prime Minister of Peru and the first female prime minister of a Latin American nation. Her substantive remarks on the reality of politics were particularly meaningful when she shared her personal experiences about the impact of always speaking truth to power and how she evoked the strength of her mother when hers was the sole voice preventing the rollback of new women’s rights in Peru. In this spirit, the Harvard Model Congress provided the platform for Miller School of Albemarle students to find their voice while working, compromising, and promoting their policy objectives while in heated committee sessions, in open debates on the floor of the House and Senate, or in probative investigative reporting roles.
Everyone at Miller School of Albemarle is quite proud of how the students represented their school.