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Students participate in Model Congress

SPRINGFIELD SABIS International Charter School was one of 17 high schools to participate in American International College's 66th Annual Model Congress that was held from January 12-14.

SABIS won the Best Bill Award, which was selected by the AIC Model Congress Staff, and Mary Jo Pham, a junior at SABIS, won the Honorable Mention Award.

More than 250 students participated at this year's Model Congress. Students competed for more than $160,000 in scholarships to AIC, based on their oratorical and parliamentary procedure skills.

Delegates faced a full congressional agenda that began on Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. with an emergency session at the Sheraton in Springfield. This special session was intended to give the delegates insight into the lobbying efforts that affect policy matters in the U.S. Congress. It also prepared delegates for the committee, House and Senate sessions, that were held on Jan. 13-14.

Some bills debated at Model Congress included, legislation that would convert the United States to the use of the metric system; make Election Day a national holiday and call it Democracy Day; create a Universal Healthcare Act to provide federally funded basic healthcare to all; and ban the showing of prescription drug advertisements in the U.S.

Founded in 1941, American International College's Model Congress is the oldest congress of its type in the nation. The program is completely student-run, from program development, coordination, hospitality, and the organizing to conducting of legislative sessions.

A keynote address was delivered by State Senator Brian Lees (R-East Longmeadow) and an Awards Banquet closed the 66th Model Congress with remarks by State Representative Michael F. Kane (D-Holyoke).