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  • Chloe Mastour

A Good Day, Senator: North Shore Lays Down the Law at Yeshiva League Model Congress

This past Wednesday, North Shore’s Model Congress Team competed in the annual Yeshiva League Model Congress tournament. The tournament was attended by over fifty students from 13 schools, including HAFTR, Central, DRS, SKA, and Ramaz. The virtual format allowed for the conference to be more accessible by eliminating travel limitations. Students from Great Neck, The Five Towns, New Jersey and even Florida were able to compete from their own homes.

Model Congress is a simulation of the United States Congress, allowing students to assume the responsibilities of our elected officials and attempt to address our nation's most pressing issues. Model Congress has fostered a deep appreciation of our American Democracy and has inspired me to be a more active citizen. Model Congress has enabled me to broaden my own perspective and understand certain ideas in a new, more nuanced way.

North Shore is proud to compete in the Yeshiva League Model Congress tournament, which continues to provide students with the opportunity to become more persuasive, effective, and confident communicators. Model Congress also helps familiarize students with a wide range of issues not typically discussed in the classroom: from Section 230 protections to the filibuster to foreign policies such as economic sanctions on Burma. North Shore students are extremely grateful to participate in such an educational, formative, and wonderfully exciting event!

Only, Wednesday’s tournament came with a festive twist! As the event’s organizer, Mr. Alex Libkind, explained, with Purim and St. Patrick’s on the same day, this month’s Model Congress did not deserve to be just like any other. This month, students were assigned to craft resolutions that allow us to tap into a more satirical and creative mindset. Time to table the boring bills and congressional gridlock and introduce solutions to the real issues troubling America. Whether a resolution to provide the unarmed militants of Gabon with lethal aid, to change the national anthem to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA,” or to require all presidential candidates to compete in the game show, Who Wants to be a President, students were sure to deliver the most insightful and professional arguments.

Following weeks of intense preparation, eight North Shore “senators” skillfully defended arguably the most critical national crisis: TikTok dances, man-made horrors inconceivable to the imagination. In a heroic effort to protect Western Civilization from sliding off a cliff in a very tragic suicide, North Shore students called for a movement to classify cringe content and to classify those who post it as domestic terror threats in our resolution to ban the filming of TikTok dancing videos in school.

Each student's performance was ranked by two judges per round, including a student “Presiding Officer.” The tournament awarded “Overall Competitors.” Students also earned rankings in their committees. It came as no surprise when Freshman Ilana Greenberg took home another impressive win for North Shore, ranking sixth place overall and with a total of nineteen points! Thinking there was no hope for me after Ilana Greenberg won sixth overall, I was pleasantly surprised to have been awarded first place overall. Illana and I are both thrilled to represent North Shore once again as we advance to the South Shore Speech and Debate League Varsity Invitational Championships on April 6th!

A special thank you goes to NSHAHS Model Congress Coach, Dr. Victoria Allen, for all of her efforts in coordinating the special event and preparing us students. Prior to the tournament, North Shore competitors, under the guidance of Dr. Allen, researched and analyzed the proposed legislation's benefits and weaknesses in preparation for our speeches, questions, and deliberations. “I love coaching Model Congress,” says Dr. Allen. "The most fun for me is the brainstorming sessions that we have before the tournament. I am always impressed by the interesting and innovative ways that the students dissect the legislation and prepare themselves for the event. We have a very strong group and I am extremely proud of all of them.”

I would also like to extend appreciation to our wonderful Headmaster, Dr. Vitow, for all of his support. Congratulations to all of North Shore’s competitors for their determination, enthusiasm, and dedication.

While their screens separated the competitors, the Model Congress proved to be filled with just as much energy as though in-person! I hope as students debate policy today, albeit virtually, you recognize the power of your own voice. I hope that your civic engagement does not cease with the click of the ‘end meeting’ button, but that Wednesday’s conference inspired you to be the great leaders of tomorrow.

As Thomas Jefferson once said, "That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part."

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