Angelina Nicolosi CFNN Reporter

To most people, the word “Harvard” brings up images of brick buildings, rich business majors, and the biggest brains in the world. To Cape Fear’s Model Congress team, it brings up memories of a school trip like no other.

“Harvard Model Congress is a simulation of what Congress really does day to day,” said faculty advisor Coach McLaughlin, also known as Coach Mac, who is in charge of the trip.

“Students get to go model as delegates, they get to present information on different topics and pretty much simulate being a Senate or House member and compete against other participants.”

From February 20-23rd, students have a unique opportunity to stay in Boston and participate in this congressional simulation under the supervision of Harvard undergraduate students.

The program is recognized by politicians such as Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton as one of the best in the world for young people interested in politics.

In years past, the trip has carried a hefty price tag of $800. This year, it may not even come close to that thanks to fundraising efforts.

“This year, I’m gonna push all the participants to apply for the model congress scholarship. Also, we’re looking to do some fundraisers, get some sponsors. We’re gonna try to get the price down as much as possible. We should be able to cut the price in half, at least,” Coach Mac said.

Freeing up money in the budget and financial stress on parents means more time to explore the city while on the trip.

 In years past, students have been able to tour Harvard’s campus and spend half a day at Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall in the city. For HMC 2020, Coach Mac is interested in adding some extra time with an earlier flight. This extra time would mean extra sightseeing, potentially even including a tour of the Red Sox stadium. And, of course, more time exploring the public transportation that has created so many fun memories in the past.

For returners, Coach Mac advises against procrastination and for continuing hard work. Committees may be released earlier this year, giving extra prep time to participants. Joining the Congressional Debate team with Mr. Lucas is another good way to get extra practice time in for those serious about winning an award or doing well.

For those considering going on the trip, Coach Mac says, “The only advice I can give is that this isn’t a fun trip. I mean, you’ll have fun, but we’re not just gonna walk around the mall. The ultimate goal is to win a gavel, and while it takes time to hone your craft, if you put the work in you’ll be great at Harvard Model Congress.”

More information can be accessed by talking to Coach Mac on the social studies hallway and by attending the interest meeting. If you’d like more insider information on the trip, ask Coach Mac to refer you to some returners. They may not be able to stop talking about how much fun they had, though.