- Guest Writer
Community School of Naples students participate in Harvard Model Congress
Over MLK weekend, 29 Community School of Naples students traveled to San Francisco to participate in the 22nd Annual Harvard Model Congress, a national student-led conference of 20 different schools and 320 students from around the world. The students were tasked with supporting and defending a political issue through an assigned role as a current U.S. official. Some served as CIA specialists, others as Supreme Court justices, and still others as elected representatives. They debated cyber-security and international diplomatic issues like the crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia. They wrote bills, lobbied other representatives for support, and brought bills before the whole House and Senate for debate and passage into law.
Freshman Anderson McAdams earned Honorable Mention for his work as Representative Dean Anderson (Minnesota-D). “I enjoyed the debating,” Anderson said. “I loved hearing other people’s opinions and arguing back with them.” Senior Natalie Gavrielov represented Mazie Hirono (Hawaii-D): “The committees were interesting,” she said. “Everyone had so much insight into the issues.” Senior Claudia Langiulli, representing Josh Hawley (Missouri-R), found the parliamentary procedure fascinating: “We passed a bill on financial literacy in the House, but it did not pass the Senate. The process shows how complicated lawmaking can be.”
The CSN Social Science Department hosts two domestic trips each year, one for Model United Nations and one for Harvard Model Congress. Students participate in local high school competitions in preparation, but the San Francisco trip represented an intercultural experience as well. “San Francisco gives the students a sense of a true international culture,” said Mrs. Flora Beare, chaperone and CSN Chinese teacher. “Not only do they learn American policy issues, but visiting Chinatown made the trip almost an international experience.”
In addition to Mrs. Beare, the chaperones were Ms. Susan Herting, Chair of the CSN Social Science Department, and Mr. Jeff Thomas, history teacher. They made it their goal to have the students experience as much big-city culture as possible. Many of the students took the afternoon on Saturday to attend the NFC Wildcard game between the 49ers and the Seahawks. “Culture happens at many levels,” Mr. Thomas said. “In the airport, at the conference, in the streets, and at the game, our kids are great ambassadors for our school.”
“These trips embody everything we represent at CSN," said Mrs. Herting. “In one weekend, all we teach in social sciences come to life.”
Community School of Naples, the largest PreK-12 independent school in Collier County, was established in 1982. CSN offers a rigorous college preparatory program, and 100 percent of its seniors attend select four-year colleges and universities. The school is located on a 77-acre campus in North Naples.