Bills were presented, the pros and cons argued, and finally votes were taken. The same effort and emotion was displayed in this simulated role-play process as in the actual House of Representatives. However, these were Locust Valley High School seniors learning how the government works, during the school’s 21st annual Congress in Action.
    Students each assumed the character of a member of the House of Representatives, developed a bill as part of a committee, and argued for the passing of the bill during Student Mock Congress.
 The entire senior class participated in the event, which gave students a great understanding of how our government works. Additionally, it provided a feel for the challenges that politicians are faced with when trying to pass new legislation, as students listened to their peers argue both for and against the bills they presented. Each student congressperson performed extensive research to ensure that the bills were factual and could withstand the scrutiny of the student congress. The experience was very realistic, as students’ bills were reviewed by their committee members and revised until the full committee was satisfied. Congressional Committees represented included Agriculture, Appropriations, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Ways and Means.
The congressional committees chose bills that could actually be proposed in the United States Congress. These bills included the amendment of the Clean Air Act, a tax credit for new businesses, the discontinuation of junk food sales in public schools, and the elimination of the death penalty, among others. The bills were topical, usually having a connection to current events.
Locust Valley Social Studies Chairperson David Ethe explained that Congress in Action teaches students a variety of skills that will aid them throughout their education and in their future careers. “It provides our students with skills to enhance their public speaking and research methodologies, as well as teaching them to work together cooperatively and to compromise,” Mr. Ethe remarked.