Mary Vlamis, Woodland Regional High School Student Body President, was chosen as Chief of Staff for the Yale Model Congress which took place December 4th through the 6th.
Vlamis was selected by the Yale Undergraduates who run the program after submitting an application listing her experience and the skills that would qualify her for the position. Vlamis was notified two weeks before the conference that she had received the position.
“This is the type of thing I live for,” said Vlamis. “So, even though I was scared of the unknown, I was more so excited for the experience ahead of me.”
Yale Model Congress gives students an opportunity to get involved in addressing and handling real issues. As Chief of Staff, Vlamis was able to engage in discussions and respond to questions put forth by other departments. Specific interactions included creating new policies which included prison reform, climate change, education reform, America’s approach on Isis, and the refugee crisis. She also gained experience in responding to crisis situations. Vlamis believes that Woodland’s Student Government has given her an advantage in regards to handling these types of crises.
“Student Government has taught me how to look at multiple sides of a problem quickly and that assisted me greatly,” said Vlamis.
Vlamis also enjoyed being able to work with peers who share her interests and opinions as well as being able to listen to those whose views differed from her own.
“Growing up in Prospect, I am used to hearing conservative views,” said Vlamis. “I really enjoyed hearing the other perspective.”
Vlamis felt engaged in all activities and plans to use the knowledge she has gained from this weekend to benefit the Student Government Program. She looks forward to implementing changes in the procedure of the senate meetings in hopes to make them run more fluently.
Overall, Vlamis is very grateful to have have had the opportunity to improve her speaking skills as well as being able to work with other students who share her similar interests.
Vlamis says, “It’s not every day you get to pretend the fate of the country is in your hands with a group of kids just as enthusiastic as you.”