Agenda Chair Daniel Schwartz elected president of Penn Model Congress

By Alexa Fishman, Features Editor

After beating Rajan Mehra from Harrison High School in New York on Thursday, Daniel Schwartz made history as the first observant Jew to be elected President of Penn Model Congress.

Shalhevet’s champion debate team is in Philadelphia this weekend for the annual Congress, where approximately 700 delegates compete by writing and debating original bills in various committees modeled after those in Washington, D.C.  In addition, the delegates elect a president.  A student can only run for president if he or she has submitted an application to serve in the Executive Branch. Penn Model Congress officials then pick two delegates to run against each other for President.

Daniel was notified last year that he had been selected from 45 applicants to run.

During the opening ceremony, each candidate was given the opportunity to speak for four minutes to appeal for votes and outline his or her candidacy.

Sophomore Sigal Spitzer, who is at the conference, said Daniel’s speech was very nerve-wracking because he went second.  In his speech,  Daniel called gridlock in Washington the nation’s biggest problem and addressed immigration reform as the son of Mexican immigrants.

“There was a lot of pressure because Schwartz went after Rajan,” said Sigal. “But he was much more passionate than Rajan and has lots of friends from previous conferences, who were happy to vote for him.”

Sigal also said that Shalhevet students helped support Daniel.

“We all helped Schwartz’s campaign by passing out flyers, posters, and cheering,” said Sigal.  “Rajan had a campaign too, but he tried to bribe people by passing out chocolates.”

Daniel still has the opportunity to win awards in his special committee made up of the cabinet.  Within his cabinet, there is a chair.  The chair picks the best debaters, and historically the President usually wins the biggest award, the gavel.