Dressed in their best and armed with facts, high school seniors were persuasive and passionate as they presented bills during the school’s 26th annual Congress in Action. The simulation of the nation’s Congressional system was a hands-on lesson in how the U.S. government works. 

Students chose a bill topic to present that is current and relevant in Congress. Immigration, gun control and fracking were among this year’s bills. Each student presented a bill, while the opposition presented a case against passing such a bill. An audience of the students’ peers had the opportunity to debate in support of or against the bill before the voting took place. This year, eight bills passed and two failed.

Regents and Advanced Placement social studies classes participated with the support of their teachers and social studies department leader David Ethé. In addition to learning about the inner workings of the U.S. government, participants also honed their research and public speaking skills. 

“There is a tremendous amount of work required to prepare for this event,” Ethé said. “Students must be knowledgeable about current events, use advanced research skills and practice their oral skills in order for their presentations to be convincing.” He added that these skills will benefit students in many areas of their lives, including in college and careers. 

The Rules Committee consisted of students Annie Degnan, William Jensen, Cameron Moreano and Connor Torossian, who moderated the event. The committee ensured that speakers stayed within their time limits and followed the rules. They also collected and tallied the votes.