JEFFERSON — Harsh debates, intriguing topics, the streets of Chicago and new relationships all became very familiar to Jefferson Area High School’s Model United Nations Team on Feb. 6-10 when they attended the Model United Nations of the University of Chicago.
The students set forth on their eight-hour journey to the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 5.
Through a course of five days the students solved issues that real world leaders are currently debating, thus proving true that diplomacy and preparation can result in great success. Although they placed sixth out of more than 100 schools, they found their true victory in bonding with one another and learning life lessons as well as acquiring worldly knowledge. The conference, however, began before the students ventured to Chicago. The preparation in the months leading up to the event was worthwhile and an indicator of the students’ dedication. Model U.N. members were expected to arrive at school an hour before usual to attend classes twice a week. The advisers, Mary Beckwith and Nancy Hamper, helped their students prepare by requiring them to give policy statements explaining the stance of the nation that they were representing. Also, they were required to engage in mock debates weekly to simulate the competition they would experience at the conference.
“The best way that we helped students prepare for the conference was by questioning the students on their policy during simulations and checking their research often,” said Ms. Hamper.
The advisers guided the students on every level, from providing them with a packing check-list to pre-debate motivation sessions.
Councils at MUNUC could have been extremely intimidating because of their large sizes and high level of competition.
Melanie March, a senior Model U.N. member and four time MUNUC delegate, explained how she handled the conference. “My partner and I researched our topics a lot. We knew that we would work well together from previous experience. Giving policy statements weekly in class helped immensely,” she said.