Shalhevet’s debate team continued to rack up awards with another successful trip to Princeton Model Congress in Washington, DC. Half of the 24 students in attendance won awards for their work during the competition.
Four of the thirteen awards were gavels, which are presented to the most outstanding debater in either committee or full sessions. The additional 9 awards were honorable mentions. Their achievement is even more noteworthy because they did not participate in nearly a quarter of the competition, which took place on Shabbat.
“The team’s achievements are rivaled only by the fact that the students accomplished them while maintaining a rigorous schedule of daily tefilla, and that they refrained from debating during Shabbat,” said Rabbi Ari Segal, Shalhevet’s Head of School. Rabbi Segal explained, “While other conference participants worked late into the night on Friday night and continued their debates on Shabbat afternoon, our students were singing zemirot, davening, laining, and bonding over beautiful meals and hilarious games at the historic 6th and I Street Synagogue in Washington.”
At the conference, students are divided into various committees in which they debate specific bills and proposals. The committees include Foreign Relations, Appropriations, Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs and others. After working in their committees, the students join together in larger groups which are called full sessions to debate the bills that they just passed in their committee.
At the awards session, Shalhevet students were a constant presence on the stage, showcasing their academic prowess, innovative political and legislative solutions to complex contemporary problems, and oratory sophistication.
The four gavels went to junior Sigal Spitzer, and sophomores Boaz Willis, Jonah Gill and Daniel Soroudi. Honorable mentions were awarded to seniors Liat Menna, Sarah Soroudi and Tamar Willis; juniors Max Helfand and Daniel Steinberg; sophomores Nicole Newman, Noah Schechter and Boaz Willis; and freshman Maya Golan. Boaz Willis, class of 2016 won Shalhevet’s first-ever gavel in a full session.
Rabbi Segal added, “Whether hanging out at shul or in the hotel lobby, playing an epic game of “nerf capture the flag” on Motzei Shabbat, working on a legislative bill or visiting the inspiring exhibit on display at the National Archives of ancient Jewish texts confiscated from Iraqi Jews by Sadaam Hussein and rescued by American Special Forces, Shalhevet students showcased their academic achievement and Judaic commitment, while also finding time to relax, enjoy, bond, and learn on what was a truly unforgettable trip.”