Students take on government roles in virtual Harvard Model Congress

EmilySalzman

Every year, Marian gives students an opportunity to fly out to Boston for a weekend and take on specific roles in government during Harvard Model Congress (HMC). This conference gives students the opportunity to find out how the United States government works by going through the everyday processes which a person in their assigned position would handle. This year, as many events were, HMC was moved to an online platform with students zooming in from around the country for their committee session at designated times throughout the day.

Marian and Prep students take a break from their congressional work to socialize in the Haddix.

Marian and Creighton Prep decided to come together for HMC this year and took turns hosting the participating students at their schools. Marian social studies teachers Mrs. Jillian Roger and Mrs. Katy Salzman, English teacher Ms. Susie Sisson, and Creighton Prep social studies teacher Mr. Tom Haindfield were the organizers for this year’s HMC. “Marian and Prep teachers tried our hardest to try to make the event special and give students an environment to feel like they were participating in a great conference,” Roger said.

The Conference took place from Feb. 18-20 and hosted more than 1,500 students from all around the country with 11 being from Marian and 12 from Prep. The students from Marian and Prep began the weekend at Prep and then went over to Marian for the next two days. Having a virtual conference allowed for more students to participate, as the cost was significantly cheaper than it would be if the conference had been held in Boston. “Normally, students would expect to spend around $1100 before even arriving in Boston. This amount includes the airfare, 4-night stay at a 4-star hotel, chaperone expenses, as well as other delegate/school fees … By contrast, this year’s delegates paid $120,” Haindfield said. 

In preparation for the conference, students were assigned to a specific committee several months beforehand. The Senate judiciary committee, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Convention, and the House of Representatives are just a few examples of the committees which were available to students. Students take on the role of their assigned delegate within their committee and must do research in order to follow along with their congressperson’s beliefs during their committee sessions.

Sophomore Mariana Vazquez Rosas was one of the participants in this year’s HMC. “I was in the Senate HELP committee where I represented Wyoming senator Mike Enzi … I decided to participate in it (HMC) because my speech skills were definitely not at their highest. I also wanted an opportunity to meet new people! I had so much fun and learned so many life skills,” Vazquez Rosas said.

Overall, there were four awards given to students from Creighton Prep and one award given to a Marian student. Creighton Prep senior Michael Lukaszewicz earned honorable mention for his role on the National Security Council A, junior Patrick Kealey received an honorable mention for his work on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, junior Jack McNally received the award for best delegate on the committee of House Homeland Security A, junior Dongkyu Lee received best delegate on his House Select Committee on Climate Crisis A, and junior Brendan Preisman won best delegate for his role on Media. Marian also had an award as senior Omaima Lado received an honorable mention for her work on the National Security Council A.

HMC gives students a great opportunity to find out the everyday processes that the US government goes through and allows them to see first hand what is required to write and pass bills, argue court cases, and debate top issues in politics today. 

“In a country as diverse as the United States, people are going to disagree about what the rules should be for society. Knowing how government works is essential to solving any problems,” Haindfield said.

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