Prospect experiences repeat success in Boston

Select juniors and seniors visited Harvard Model Congress in Boston. Students learned and worked in American politics by protraying members of congress.

By Andriana Hayes

Staff Writer

This year at the 27 annual Harvard Model Congress, senior Dan Troutman took the Congressional Committee Award, an award given out to roughly 40 out of the entire 1400 students who attend Harvard Model Congress. Troutman, the only student to receive an award from Prospect, received the same award last year.

However, according to Troutman, the experience of HMC is more rewarding than the awards themselves.

“Although politics is not something that I focus on from day to day, [the Harvard Model Congress] allowed for an excellent experience to better understand how our government works,” Troutman said. “For me, it has broadened my horizons as to all the problems facing our country and all the decisions our government must make to assess these problems.”

The Harvard Model Congress (HMC) is a four day program where students can participate in simulated government activities such as serving in a courtroom and participating in a mock congress session, where the students can pose as senators and congressmen or congresswomen.

Prospect had 20 juniors and seniors go, among a crowd of about 1400 kids who come from all over the U.S. to participate.  The trip to Boston is open to any juniors and seniors who have an interest in politics and social studies.

The students were supervised by social studies teachers Erik Hodges and Tim Beishir. The participants were assigned certain congressmen/women and were required to do research on that person prior to the program.  Once at HMC, the students pose as their selected representatives and debate over passing new laws and bills.

“[Students] learn more about our political system from this kind of participation than reading a newspaper or reading a textbook; it’s that kind of conceptual application of knowledge you won’t get anywhere else,” Beishir said

In addition, he notes how the whole program helps students learn more about politics. He enjoyed watching his students debate and participate in activities and being able to present their ideas to large groups of people while getting a one of a kind experience.

Beishir says it’s nice for Prospect to come and challenge elite prep schools during their debates while they learn how to speak in legal terms eloquently. Not only is HMC a political learning experience for students, it is an opportunity for them to improve public speaking and learning to work with others.

“It’s a big challenge to stand up, especially with kids you don’t know… and express yourself in public speaking, and stand up for what your [assigned person] believes in, or what you believe in and just engage in political situations,” Beishir said.

For Troutman, in the end being able to stand up for these beliefs is what makes the Harvard Model Congress worthwhile.

“You get out of HMC what you put into it. If you’re willing to push yourself to speak in front of everyone and defend your beliefs, then you will have a great experience no matter what,” Troutman said.