As President Harry S. Truman surveyed the room of dignitaries—Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Vincent Auriol, Mao Zedong—he knew his postwar plans for a united Germany were going to be challenging to achieve. He’d have to generate buy-in from all concerned parties and somehow convince the Soviets that a united Germany was in the best interests of the new postwar world. Except, of course, that Harry S Truman was not Harry S Truman, but Saint Andrew’s sophomore Harrison Calder ’22, taking part in his first Harvard Model Congress event on the Historical Committee.
Thirteen Saint Andrew’s Scots journeyed to San Francisco for the city’s 20th annual Harvard Model Congress, the culminating event in one of SA’s premier experiential and civic education programs. Led by Dr. Joseph Mendes, juniors Blake Birkins ’21, Jack Liebowitz ’21, Ella Niren ’21, and Matthew Russo ’21, joined sophomores Harrison Calder ’22, Avery Emmer ’22, Rebecca Friedman ’22, Hannah Frydman ’22, Nicholas Ilvento ’22, Cooper Likosar ’22, Amanda Rosenzweig ’22, Elle Schefren ’22, and Christopher Warren ’22. Together they embarked on a five-day experience as members of a simulated US government.
While there, Scots were assigned roles of actual US senators and members of Congress and were given scenarios that would require congressional action ranging from North Korean nuclear tests to cybersecurity, infrastructure projects, and failing school districts. The delegates then debated the issue, discussed potential bills, gathered bipartisan support, drafted bills, attempted to get them passed in their committees, and then argued for them in joint congressional sessions where they could then be voted into law.
Saint Andrew’s delegates distinguished themselves with a keen knowledge of civics as well as tremendous skills in logic, rhetoric, and inductive and deductive reasoning. “These students have worked tirelessly for this event and I’m enormously proud of them,” remarked program director Dr. Joseph Mendes.
“Prior to the trip, model congress students spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning before school learning how to debate, how to pick out flaws in both their and their opponents’ arguments, and mastering the at-times arcane parliamentary procedure used in Congress,” he added.
The SA Model Congress program instills a love of country and civics in our students, helping to tackle some of today’s most pressing problems with tomorrow’s leaders. The program continues in February with 26 Scots attending the international meeting of the Harvard Model Congress in Boston. Congratulations to these Scots and best of luck as these distinguished delegates continue their pursuits in the program.