Harvard Model Congress team competes in Boston


Jill Skardutos

The Model Congress team posing for their final picture as they close off the 2023 HMC trip.

Joshua Sket and Jackson Nealis

In the simulated chambers of the House and the Senate, as well as in the meeting rooms of political organizations, from February 23-26, a dedicated group of 11 Saint Stephen’s students debated public policy matters at the annual Harvard Model Congress. Over 1,500 delegates from schools across the country traveled to Boston for the four-day conference.

During the conference, the team led by Captain Jackson Nealis and featuring Upper School students Maya Akella, Evan Randle, Kensington Wheeler, Ryan LaLiberty, Mikayla Casagrande, Joshua Sket, Theo Frano, Milaan Smith, Riley Schlick-Trask, Parker Beale, competed in simulationson topics ranging from Electoral College reform to supply chain problem solving.  

Each delegate was assigned to a committee with delegates from schools across the country, chaired or directed by Harvard undergraduate students. Each delegate represented the role of a real life person who sits on the current committee. Many committees represented actual congressional committees like the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, while others explored other areas of government and history; for example, Joshua Sket and Ryan LaLiberty represented delegates to the Constitutional Convention and were tasked with rewriting our founding documents. 

Fascinatingly, Saint Stephen’s delegates Maya Akella and Milaan Smith were assigned to the media committee reporting on the conference. You can find the work they did on the HMC media website here. 

Smith noted that the media committee was an incredible experience because “it allowed us to get out of the committee room and interact and interview other delegates.” 

Guided by faculty advisors Mr. and Mrs. Skardoutos, students were also able to explore the city of Boston, visiting the Harvard University campus in Cambridge and the Boston Public Library. These travel experiences elevated the trip in the eyes of delegate Ryan LaLiberty.  

LaLiberty said, “I was able to explore a city that I haven’t really explored before and discover Boston with my friends.” 

At the end of the conference, delegate Theo Frano won the Best Delegate Award for the National Security Council and delegates Jackson Nealis and Joshua Sket won honorable mentions for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Constitutional Convention committees, respectively. 

Congrats to our Harvard Model Congress Delegates! Any student interested in participating next year in HMC or Colombia Model UN should contact Mrs. Skardoutos or incoming captain Theo Frano.

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  • The Model Congress team posing in front of the famous “John Harvard” statue.

  • Joshua Sket 23′, Theo Frano 24′, and Jackson Nealis 23′ posing with their highly respected awards.

  • The team enjoying a dinner after a long day of competing.

  • Nealis and Frano practicing their political speeches in the Grand Ballroom.

  • The Constitutional Convention Committee debating a new governmental system for America.

  • Parker Beale 23′ along with his authors, proposing a new bill in front of the World Health organization.

  • Ryan LaLiberty 23′ speaking to the Constitutional Convention about reforming education.

  • The team smiling as they ride the elevator to their first committee session.

  • Maya Akella 23′, Beale 23′, and Kensington Wheeler 24′ walking through the snowy Boston streets.

  • The Model Congress team preparing for a long weekend with snacks and drinks.

  • The boys in their room preparing for the next day of committee sessions.

  • The ladies of the team freezing on their first day in the Boston weather.

  • Team dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with their game faces on.

  • Nealis 23′ drafting legislation with his Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee members.

  • The team on their early morning flight up to Boston.

  • Beale 23′ in the World Health Organization committee listening to speeches.

  • The boys posing in the Boston Public Library.

  • Frano 24′ deciding what he wants to eat for dinner.

  • The Model Congress team posing for their final picture as they close off the 2023 HMC trip.

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