High school students from New England and New York will gather at American International College for the 74th annual Model Congress, Jan. 9-11. Since 1940, AIC has held the Model Congress, the longest running event of its kind in the country.

The event is designed to give high school students the opportunity to engage in the legislative process firsthand and stimulate an interest in the process of government. Model Congress participants write, amend, debate and vote on a variety of bills during the three day competition, many of which closely resemble bills currently before the U.S. Congress.

AIC faculty judges award more than $200,000 in scholarships to the outstanding delegates, based on oratorical skills and knowledge of parliamentary procedure. The first place winner receives a four-year tuition scholarship to AIC.

The delegates face a full congressional agenda that begins Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m. with an Emergency Session at the Springfield Sheraton.

Newly elected state Senator Donald F. Humason (R-Westfield) will be the keynote speaker at the 74th Model Congress. Humason will address a joint session of the Model Congress Friday, January 10 at 9:30 a.m. in the Griswold Theatre.

Legislative committee sessions will begin following the keynote address and continue throughout the day in Amaron Hall.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, bills that are passed in committee will be taken up in the House and Senate, from 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. in the Schwartz Campus Center. The delegates will then attend the Awards Banquet at 5:00 p.m. in the AIC Dining commons.

This year's legislation packet includes a variety of domestic and foreign policy bills, including a proposal from Agawam High School which would mandate at least one full term of military service by all presidential and vice presidential candidates. There is also a bill from Belchertown high School that would repeal the twenty second amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, thereby removing term limits from the Presidency, and a proposal from St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield that would make the act of murdering young people or adults in a school shooting a federal offense.

Other proposed legislation includes a bill from Sabis International Charter School to legalize the production of industrial hemp, and a bill from Minnechaug Regional High School that would recall, regulate, and bring home all United States active personnel in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force, stationed in foreign countries until such time when eminent danger to or war on United States civilians on domestic soil is present.

Model Congress is organized and run by AIC students. Marguerite Pratt, a Physical Therapy major from Granville, will serve as General Chair for the 74th Model Congress. This is her third year participating in Model Congress.