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Monday, May 28, 2012

My Experience at the NCFL Student Congress National Competition

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Thursday night, I, along with some friends from another school and our coaches, left for Baltimore, the city that hosted the 2012 NCFL National Competition.  After much wandering through the city, we finally arrived at our destination: the Hilton Hotel.  The hotel’s location was great, bordered by the historic Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower on one side and the Oriole Park on the opposite.  Inner Harbor was a short walk away, and downtown Baltimore was right outside.

Friday was dedicated entirely to exploring the city.  The morning started with a cup of coffee at a small café on the street.  Exploring the streets, we walked past many small shops like this.  While making our way to the National Aquarium, we stopped at a newly built memorial dedicated to those who died in the tragedy of September 11.  Here, they had three steel beams from the World Trade Center and limestone slabs from the Pentagon.

The National Aquarium was a great experience and a must-see for anyone traveling to Baltimore.  Here, they had sharks of many kinds, a green sea turtle, a dolphin show, and multiple floors of exhibits.  One could literally spend a whole day gazing at the many sea creatures throughout this aquarium.  Its harbor side location makes the National Aquarium even better.  The U.S.S. Constellation and other historic boats neighbor the glass building of the aquarium.

For supper, we ate at a place loved by every inhabitant of Baltimore: the Cheese Cake Factory.  While one would believe by its name that the Cheese Cake Factory is only a place for dessert, it actually includes a very lengthy and high-quality menu with everything from Mexican to Asian food.  If you choose to take on the calories of this restaurant, be sure to purchase the lunch portion, as the Cheese Cake Factory is known for its huge portions.  One must also save room for the most important part: their creamy, delicious cheesecake, available in numerous varieties.

Following the Friday exploration around Baltimore, Saturday morning started early.  At a time when much of the city was just waking up, I ventured to the Sheraton Hotel, where I would be spending my next nine hours competing.  I was greeted by a little over twenty students, representing areas throughout the country.  Being raised in a rural area, I found it exciting to meet people from everywhere from California to New York City.  While the places we called home varied greatly, we all had one thing in common: we loved to debate.  In nine hours, we only went through six bills, as nearly every person in the room gave their input on every bill.  By the end of the last session, many of us were about to go crazy but all of us had a great time.  Through debating with such a large diversity of students, new points were raised on each bill, and I was given the opportunity to see the way people across America thought.

After the lengthy sessions of competitions, we returned to the Hilton, where DJ Cuban hosted the NCFL dance.  It was a great time where I once again had the honor of meeting people from around the country. As the night went on, students engaged in many great activities, including dance-offs and crowd surfing.  It was a great time to make new friends and have a good time.

I had an amazing time at the NCFL National Competition and hope to make it next year.  Through it, I was released from the shell of my small rural community and was given the opportunity to meet people from around the country.  I have always had an admiration for the city and plan to move there when I graduate.  It was great to meet people that enjoyed the same activities as myself and discover how they lived around the nation.

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  1. It is not the length of the caucus that matters, but how you use it.

    I am happy to hear that you enjoyed your experience during congress and I hope that you use the knowledge you have gained from this experience to enrich the lives of those around you.

    I look forward to someday engaging you in debate. May the best man win.



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