by Steven Baker and Nick Mannion
On Nov. 7 Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Model United Nations Club went to its annual two-day meeting in Rochester. For the meeting most of the students are assigned a country and a topic, like hunger, poverty or health care, or one of the many other social economic issues troubling countries around the world. For example, “my topic was Sino-Indian border relations,” said freshman delegate Albert Wang.
Some students are chosen as a chair, which is a student who regulates debate and runs a committee. A chair is chosen by the current secretariat members, who evaluate students applications and then choose the most qualified students. J-DHS seniors Jeffrey Gabriel, Daniel McGann, and Nolan Roosa were chosen for this conference. “I was in charge of the Iranian revolutionary council of 1979,” said McGann. “In this (committee) you run through history and see how things would’ve turned out if something had gone differently.” If given the chance, McGann said he’d definitely love to be a chair again.
For this the conference, Gabriel was also chosen as the Under Secretary General, who runs the whole conference. You must be a chair to be chosen, and it is only given to a very prestigious student, who has run their committee smoothly and effectively. The Under Secretary General is chosen by the current secretariat members, who evaluate all of the chairs and choose the most qualified. “It’s a great responsibility,” said Gabriel. Under Secretary General is one of the highest awards a chair can win.
Along with individual awards, J-DHS MUN won the award Best Delegate Per Capita, which is the equivalent to first place. The Best Delegate Per Capita is given to the school that won the most awards. “They were exceptional,” said MUN adviser Donna Oppedisano. Also, half the students that participated won awards; “a lot of the kids that won came out of nowhere and blossomed,” said Mrs. Oppedisano. Three of the students that won awards were new to the MUN, like freshman Evan Blust, who participated in his first conference and won the award for Outstanding Delegate. “I wasn’t very worried about the conference, I knew I was going to well,” he said. Mrs. Oppedisano was proud of her students performances at the conference; “this is the second year in a row that we won (Best Delegate Per Capita) and (it shows) we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
It takes a lot of time to prepare for these conferences. Delegates are responsible for doing research on their country and their topic inside of their country. “It usually takes around 15 hours to do research and write position papers,” said senior delegate Mikhail Pletchinski. This research helps delegates know their country so they know what they’re talking about when they debate with other delegates from other schools. Delegates are also responsible for writing four position papers, which you use to create a speech. “You have to have a plan to execute in committee,” said senior delegate Sargon Bebla.
MUN is something all of the members love to do and it improves many skills. Another skill they use is public speaking; “(MUN) will help me in the future because I have done a lot of public speaking,” said McGann. The members of MUN love this club because it is “fun” and “thought provoking,” said senior Casey Sawyer who has been a member for four years.