January 27, 2023
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COURTESY PHOTO/Cristian Mora

Nathan Ferguson and Ryan Clifton in front of the Texas State Capitol

Muleshoe High School student Nathan Ferguson recently advanced to Super Congress at the Texas State Capitol, according to MHS Speech & Debate Coach Cristian Mora.

In November, Nathan Ferguson received 2nd place at the UIL Congress Region 17 meet, advancing to the State level. Mora and Speech & Debate Coach Frank Recio had worked with Nathan on the UIL Congress State Legislation since the beginning of December.

Traveling to Austin to compete against schools all across Texas, Nathan would advance to the final round of Congress, also known as Super Congress. Super Congress is held at the Texas State Capitol in the same rooms lawmakers have used to pass legislation for the past 134 years.

After a long day of deliberation and debate, Nathan was one of the top 18 best speakers in the State Finals.

Congress is an individual contest in a large group setting. It models the legislative process of democracy, specifically, the United States Congress. Within this mock legislative assembly competition, contestants draft legislation (proposed laws and position statements) submitted to the tournament. They research the docket of bills and resolutions dealing with real-world social and political policies prior to the contest to prepare their speeches.

At the tournament, students caucus in committees, deliver formal discourse on the merits and disadvantages of each piece of legislation, and vote to pass or defeat the measures they have examined. Parliamentary procedure forms structure for the discourse, and students extemporaneously respond to others arguments over the course of a session.

Competitive student congress mimics real-life legislative assemblies and presents its participants with insight into the issues, problems and policies that actually confront our lawmakers. Participating in mock legislative congress teaches students the proper decorum in meetings and promotes critical listening and skilled note-taking. Negotiating arts and meditation must occur, emphasizing interpersonal communication as students seek to pass their piece of legislation successfully.

Congratulations to Nathan and good luck to him as he continues preparing for other UIL competitions this spring, such as CX Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking.

BY GAIL M. WILLIAMS

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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