By MICHAEL DORUNDA ’24
This article was originally written for the Atlas newspaper.
Michelle Itkin ’22 won a Best Delegate Award at the Harvard Model Congress event Feb. 24-27 in Cambridge, Mass.
Itkin was one of three students from WMA to be recognized for their hard work and outstanding performances during the 2022 Harvard Model Congress. Patrick Evuleocha ’22 and Sally Geoghegan ’24 earned Honorable Mention recognitions for their work and performances in the debates.
Itkin was part of the Italy delegation, which focused on sustainable urbanization and the international debt crises. It was Itkin’s fourth year participating in Model Congress.
“I'm really proud that I was able to end my high school Model Congress career by winning Best Delegate,” Itkin said. “I put a lot of work and energy into the four-day conference, and I'm glad it paid off. It was the perfect culmination of the past four years, especially with this being the first in-person conference since I was a sophomore due to COVID-19.”
Dr. Anthony Kandel, History Department Chair and faculty advisor to WMA’s Model Congress, said, “Michelle, Sally and Patrick were each well deserving of their recognition as outstanding delegates at this year's Harvard Model Congress. They are leaders within our program, helping others grow and develop, and as such the entire program is proud of this inspiring accomplishment.”
The WMA Model Congress worked throughout the winter as an afternoon activity in preparation for the big event on the Harvard campus. They studied the particular issues they focused on during that weekend and they developed the skills to compete through mock debates with their teammates.
The competition, though, presented its own set of challenges. “At that conference, the delegates are out for blood,” Evuleocha said. “They will feed on any tiny false remark you make, and they will counter every single thesis you form. At the end of it all, I believe I won an award of recognition because I was able to find the loopholes in other people's ways of thinking, and used it as a bridge to strengthen the credibility of my argument.”
Evuleocha explained that his role was as a Congressman from South Carolina who sat on the House Intelligence Committee. “I suddenly went from a 17-year-old kid freaking out about college decisions to an American politician representing South Carolina's 1st congressional district. Not only did I have my SC-1 tag, and stayed in my SC-1 seat, but I also represented the wishes of SC-1. Every pro speech I made, every working paper I introduced, and every bill I wrote represented the wishes of SC-1, and it takes a certain kind of person to represent the wishes of others without completely skewing their own.”
Geoghegan said she “did not expect to win an award so I was excited and surprised when I did. I am proud of myself for winning the award and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to go to the conference.” Geoghegan portrayed Congressman Andy Kim from New Jersey in the House Foreign Relations Committee working on relations between North Korea and the United States.
Itkin took special pride in the performance of her teammates at Model Congress, saying she was proud to be able to “help everyone else prepare for the conference, learn the rules and procedure and strategize.”