At UPenn competition in March, North Model Congress team finishes just short of a perfect season

—By Diana Tang—

After Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement, the buzz about a female president has resurfaced from eight years ago. Here at North, however, we have something better than a female president: we have two. Seniors Anna Mehrabyan and Shreya Sunderram, after winning mock elections at two Model Congress conferences, are showing HSN Model Congress’s strengths to the entire nation.

North’s MC team has participated in three major conferences this school year—at Princeton, Yale and Penn—taking the top prize in the first two, and falling just short at Penn. And after this near-perfect season, MC members are still striving for greater success.

President Anna Mehrabyan, the first female president of Penn MC, describes her experience as very empowering, since she was competing in a high-level committee. However, regardless of how well-spoken Mehrabyan is, it wasn’t a completely stress-free experience for her. “I remember standing out on stage and walking up to the microphone and having the thought of, ‘I can’t even control my breath! How am I going to control everything else that’s coming out of my mouth right now?’”

Despite all the effort that went into the presidential campaigns, ranging from a detailed outline of any political issue that might be mentioned, to making a speech in front of hundreds of delegates, the rewards were priceless. Vice President Shreya Sunderram, who was also president of Yale MC, said, “The experience was honestly really validating, but also heartwarming that I received that much support. It was the perfect beginning to a perfect last season of Model Congress.”

However, the question still stands—to what can the team attribute its success? Freshman Katherine Zhang attributes it to the dedication of the diverse officer board. “I can see from the way that they talk about it that they’ve put a lot of personal effort into making the club grow and become what it is now.” The officer board is a highly qualified group of individuals, each with enough passion to be the president of the club. Beyond that, the members are talented and always want to learn more. Sophomore Neha Boinpally said, “In the end it boils down to the people, and everyone has shown that they have the desire to learn more, to form opinions.”

After winning delegation awards at both Yale MC and Princeton MC, the club had a perfect season within its grasp, given that Penn MC has traditionally been its best conference. But this year the MC team missed out on the top prize, much to the members’ disappointment. Despite this setback, the team’s confidence and resolve has not been diminished. “Our confidence is derived from our quality of debate,” Sunderram said, “not just the awards we receive at the end of the day.”
But the team’s camaraderie overshadows its near-miss. “Those things happen, and it feels bad at the time, but even if they didn’t get the delegation award in the end, what we have as a family is more important than any award we could get,” freshman Sanjana Satish said.

However, the club is not stopping here. According to Mehrabyan, the club’s future could go in many directions. “I think it would be great to bring what we do to other schools, or even bring other schools to us, or even make MC into a group of politically active people…I want to see [next year’s officer board] really take it by the reins, throw the curtains out the window, burn all the furniture and say, ‘We’re going to do something new.’” With strong members, a commitment to perpetual improvement, and the ability to make lasting changes, Model Congress will only continue to grow until it becomes an inimitable group of highly educated individuals who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

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