BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — For the 23rd consecutive year, Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights hosted the Middle School Model Congress assembly on May 19.
Roughly 350 middle school students from 15 independent schools, including Packer, send delegations of model legislators to the event.
Middle School Model Congress provides students with the opportunity to write, discuss and debate bills, just like members of the U.S. Congress.
The Packer Model Congress club met once a week for six months to prepare for the event. Each student or pair of students wrote a bill, practiced debating it, and prepared an amendment if need be. All of the committees are run by Upper School Students who volunteer to be committee chairs and parliamentarians.
Students break off into one of 17 separate committees based upon the content of their bill. These committees are meant to resemble actual congressional committees and include Judiciary, Education, Health, Housing & Urban Affairs, and Science, Space & Technology.
After a morning committee session filled with heated debate and criticism, the bills that pass committee are reviewed in one of four full sessions. At the end of the day, the "Golden Gavel" is awarded to students who were deemed to be the best prepared by their respective committee chairs.