WMA lands 5 awards at state Model Congress event
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s reputation as a school with an influential presence in regards to government – both locally and globally - has been brought to the forefront at the state level this year.
Soon after the Upper School’s Model United Nations program landed two award winners and four more from the Middle School, WMA’s Model Congress had five students receive honors at the state event in Boston Feb. 20-23.
Kyle Yamagishi-Rodstein ’20, Michelle Itkin ’22, Jack Perenick ’21 and Chuc An “Ann” Tran ’21 won Best Delegate Awards, while Liam Etti ’20 earned an Honorable Mention.
Model Congress, an after-school activity, was led by Dr. Anthony Kandel, Chair of the History & Global Studies Department.
Dr. Kandel on why Model Congress is important at WMA: “Model Congress is an important part of the WMA co-curricular program for several reasons. Students with a deep interest in the political process have the opportunity to engage in that process at a very well run event. Additionally, our students develop relationships with many students from other schools who share the same interest. Finally, Model Congress is a great way to develop knowledge of national current events, enhance public speaking skills and improve one's diplomatic skills as well.”
Dr. Kandel on how this year’s group performed at the state event: “The overall performance of the 2020 Model Congress team was outstanding. In addition to winning four Best Delegate Awards and one Honorable Mention award (a school record), the entire group was focused, on task, engaged and truly enjoyed the experience. In sum, the trip was a major success by any measure.”
Kyle, who represented Mr. Ted Lieu from California’s 33rd Congressional District: “It was a great experience, especially for me. I started Model UN and Model Congress as a sophomore, and was pretty nervous to get up and public speak and interact with strangers. I saw my abilities progress over time. It was rewarding to speak confidently in front of a group of people I didn’t know. I would recommend it to anybody who is interested in improving their public speaking skills or their social interaction skills.”
Michelle, who represented Mr. Harley Rouda from California's 48th Congressional District in the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee: "I am incredibly proud of winning the Best Delegate Award at Model Congress this year because of how much work I put in during the conference. It took a lot of effort to negotiate and find bipartisan solutions to extremely split issues, such as space travel and election cybersecurity. Staying one step ahead of the other delegates, many of who were older and more experienced than I was, took non-stop focus and energy during the whole weekend. It makes me happy to have had all my hard work pay off."
Ann, who represented Mr. Mike Lee of Utah in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “Model Congress pushed me this year to connect with a real person who, on paper, seemed like my polar opposite. Representing Mike Lee forced me to find values that he preached that I believed in as well, and for values that contradicted mine I was forced to at least understand the logic behind his beliefs. I was also able to recreate the senator's speech on how the true solution to climate change was to fall in love, get married and make babies, which was pretty funny.”
Jack, who represented Senator Rick Scott of Florida on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship: “This year at Harvard Model Congress we debated policy, wrote legislation and finally voted as the full Senate. I think Model Congress has provided me with one of the best co-curricular experiences during my time here at WMA, given its numerous interconnections with my favorite areas of study in school: politics, economics and government."