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North Lamar’s Student Congress Advances To State

North Lamar High School’s Student Congress team advanced to state after competing in the region. Members, beginning in front, are sophomore Layla Shafiq, senior Isabella LoCicero, and freshman Jaden Brown. In the back are freshman Heather Bright, sophomore Hannah Miner, sophomore Hunter Steelman, and freshman Austin Elrod.

LoCicero and Steeman take top spots in the region.

North Lamar High School advanced to state after placing in the top two places at the Region 8 UIL Student Congress competition in Pittsburg on Thursday.

Advancing to the state competition on January 5-7 in Austin is the first place, Isabella LoCicero, also named Top Presiding Officer, and second place Hunter SteelmanJaden Brown placed fourth and is alternate to state, Hannah Miner placed fifth, and Heather Bright placed seventh. Only the top three advance to state.

NLHS Student Congress Coach Kristi Hodgkiss describes the tournament process, “Students write legislation before the tournament, and then role-play Representatives or Senators as they debate the legislation during a three-hour preliminary session. Then there is a three-hour final session, giving speeches either in favor of or against each piece of legislation.”

Topics that were debated this year in the 4A chamber included crisis pregnancy centers, prosecutorial immunity, construction on Native American lands, recycling, voting rights, and the minimum wage.

Before the contest, the students did hours of research so that their speeches would contain evidence to prove their points.

“They are judged on the content of their speeches, clash with other speakers, presentation style, and networking (politics),” said Hodgkiss. “Isabella served as the presiding officer of the 4A chamber (like Speaker of the House) for the finals session and was named Top Presiding Officer.”

Isabella is returning to the state Congress competition for the third straight year.