Inside the Reagan Congress Meet
Reagan’s own Congress team hosted a meet on Friday, February 16. The team, including myself, debated successfully and we were able to win what we like to call “hardware.” As a member of the Congress team, I felt responsible for telling everyone about our unique team and why it is one of the coolest things Reagan has to offer. If you want to learn more about what Congress is (which is beneficial for this article), you may want to go and look at my previous article on what Congress is before you read any further.
First things first, we had to do a lot of preparation for this meet. We knew it was important that we did well at this meet (since it was our own competition). Preparation in Congress starts with the legislation. The legislation is a list of bills submitted by all of the schools that we can choose to debate on. The list for this meet had 10-15 bills on it, including my own bill: “A Bill To Abolish Standardized Testing.” As a team, we go through them and then we work on collecting research for the stance we want to take (affirmative or negation). On the day of the tournament, we had to get to school by 3:15 p.m. I got there early to set up my laptop (it is the most important tool you can have in Congress) and then reviewed what I had for speeches. For our meet, there were two “chambers,” and I was put in the library chamber.
Once the meet started, a representative from each school went to debate what should get put on the docket (the list of bills we wanted to debate). The list included bills like my standardized testing one, a bill to ban animal testing, and even a bill to legalize euthanasia. After that happened, a presiding officer, or P.O., was chosen. The P.O. runs the debate and makes sure everyone in order. After that, the debate was started (after a motion to open the chamber of course). We talked about three bills the first session, mine being the third. I gave a speech on banning military parades and then my authorship speech on the standardized testing bill. Overall, the debate was smooth and was quite funny. I was very happy, however, to be able to have a break and eat dinner!
After dinner, the second session started. The second session was really heated, especially during two particular bills. The most heated debate we had was for the “Ban Animal Testing” bill. People had very strong opinions on this, which lead to some interesting speeches. During the authorship questioning period (a time where we can ask the author of the bill questions), someone asked if the author thought PETA was a reliable source to use. The questioner eventually called the author’s speech “vegan propaganda,” and tore apart her main argument since it was not a reliable source. Then, in another senator’s speech, they said, “We literally just ate animals a half an hour ago in our nachos.” This helped keep everyone engaged in the debate and helped the flow of the meet.
After this round, we went back into the cafeteria and waited for awards. Awards are handed out based off of the speeches you give and how many speaker points you get. There are also awards for “Best P.O.” where teams get to vote or the best presiding officer in their chamber. Rihana Zaiani and Samia Sheikh from Reagan both got the best P.O. awards! Reagan got numerous other speaker awards as well! Although I didn’t get an award, I still had so much fun because Congress isn’t just about winning, it is about meeting new people and taking risks. If you want to join the team next year, talk to Mr. Larson-Rolf for more details.