- Julia Hajibay-Piranesi
Yeshiva Model Congress
Interested in getting your point across? If so, Model Congress is the perfect opportunity for you! Placed in a committee, such as Labor, Energy, or Foreign affairs, you are tasked to write a piece of legislation, referred to as a bill, that addresses an issue in your committee. You prepare it beforehand, ensuring that you are extremely knowledgeable on the topic and can successfully argue any opposing views. At the event, you may choose to present your bill and give a speech explaining its importance. Students in your committee will then debate the bill, giving speeches in opposition and in support of your legislation. They may also suggest amendments to strengthen your bill. After what feels like hours of discussion, the bill is voted on and may either pass or fail. This is mostly determined by how well you articulate your opinions and defend your bill. This, though, is not the entirety of the experience. Other committee members will present their bills too, and you will have the opportunity to speak on them- either for or against the bill. This strengthens your public speaking skills, allowing you to speak passionately about an issue you care deeply for. Awards are given out to star delegates at the event’s conclusion.
This past week, North Shore students were chosen to participate in the Yeshiva Model Congress, hosted by HAFTR High School. After tons of long after-school practices and prep, 6 people passed their bills, and 7 people passed their crisis solutions (legislative solutions to hypothetical problems that could come up in our country). And, those who didn’t, most definitely fought hard and gave it their all. Freshmen Ilana Greenberg and Elizabeth Mirharoon won first and second place in their committees, respectively.
My committee was Labor, and I presented the following bill: An Act to End the Gender Pay Gap. After several pro and con speeches, I successfully convinced my committee that this situation is a recurring issue and must be put to an end. One piece of advice I would offer is simply: introduce a bill that you are educated on and strongly passionate for. Speaking on an issue you find boring and uninteresting will cause a lack of enthusiasm and prevent you from strongly backing up your bill. Dr Allen, our amazing advisor and coach, taught us to “Fight for our bill!” We all did just that! Overall, this was an amazing and memorable experience, and I look forward to participating in Model Congress in the future!