Model Congress Conference

Model Congress, a government-focused club, meets once a week on Tuesdays. President Thomas Broyles and Vice Presidents Anna Hoffmann, Max Cohn, and Drew Mahoney (with the help of their advisor Mr. Perkins) lead this club to engage in different political activities to help members learn about the U.S. government and strengthen their skills to voice their opinions and ideas in realistic, convincing, and professional ways.

From the beginning of the year until April, delegates in the Model Congress Club created a bill about something they felt passionately about with the hopes of it passing into a law just like in the U.S. Congress. From outlines to presentations, these bills were edited and revised as close to perfection as possible. During this process, Model Congress members practiced their debating skills during warm-up debates and learned about Parliamentary procedure in order to prepare for the long-awaited conference.

On Tuesday April 12 and Wednesday April 13, the Model Congress Club participated in a conference along with several schools in the Hockomock League. The conference took place in Canton High School at which Model Congress delegates arrived by bus. Students were treated to a complimentary breakfast and a speech delivered by the senator representing Canton in the Massachusetts Senate.

On Tuesday, students were separated into committees based on the topics of their bills. Sponsors of the bills were allotted time to present and explain their bill in order to convince others to support it. After a bill was explained and presented, members of the committee engaged in debate on the bill.

Committee members asked questions fo

r the sponsors of the bill, posed amendments, and discussed, among each other, the strengths and weaknesses of the bill. If the majority of the committee members voted in favor of the bill, it passed to the Senate floor, where every delegate had the opportunity to review and debate the bill. Nine out of the ten bills sponsored by members of the Franklin High School Model Congress passed through committee

On Wednesday, bills that passed through committee were debated in the auditorium among every delegate attending the conference. Debate was moderated by a chair with real experience in parliamentary procedure. Unfortunately, due to timing constraints, not every bill that passed through committee was debated. The steering committee, made up of committee chairs, choose specific bills that had passed to debate.

Three of the nine Franklin High School Bills that passed were chosen by the steering committee. Delegates Ryan Andreson and Ryan Welch sponsored a bill to grant the commonwealth of Puerto Rico statehood. Fiona Morrison sponsored a bill to limit large amounts of deforestation by fining businesses and requiring the additional planting of trees. Lastly, delegates Andrew Nicholson and Max Cohn sponsored a bill to eliminate lobbying and stock trading in the United States government.

Again, due to timing constraints, the day ended before Fiona’s bill could be introduced on the senate floor. Still, the conference managed to be a success for Franklin High School as the two bills mentioned above passed! 

Model Congress Officers (from left to right) Anna Hoffmann, Drew Mahoney, Thomas Broyles, and Max Cohn. (Photo used with permission from Thomas Broyles.)

The conference functions as a “mock” of the procedures found in the United States Senate. In the months leading up to the conference, delegates write bills and presentations to support their bills, just like United States Senators. They also practice parliamentary procedure (the ethics, rules, and customs of the United States Senate) in preperation for debate. From debate in the committee to debate on the Senate floor, delegates performed as real senators and Canton High School served as a model of the senate floor.