On Friday February 8, 13 students left for Boston to participate in the Model UN Conference at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT). Chaperoned by History and Global Studies teacher Andrew Syfu, the high school students, ranging from freshman to seniors, volunteered to represent Williston.
Model United Nations aims to provide a platform for young future diplomats to encourage themselves in understanding global issues and policies.
A weekend in Boston might sound fun, but the students were on a very tight schedule. Upon arrival, they had their opening ceremony, followed by a quick dinner. Once that was over, the students went to work for two hours with their committee.
The delegates from Williston were put in 13 different committees, meaning that none of the students representing our school worked together. The committees represented countries, with each committee composed of 30 to 40 delegates.
“I think it gave us an opportunity to not rely on our friends,” Anaya Akpalu ’21 explained. “It focused us on getting stuff done.”
More than 400 students spanning five of the seven continents attended the conference. This gave the delegates a unique chance to debate with members not only from this country, but from the entire world.
Overall, the students spent 12 hours of a two-day span sitting and working in their individual committees. Many major issues were addressed, such as the socioeconomic crisis in Venezuela and the Mexico-United States border wall.
Syfu was pleased with Williston’s performance, especially since Model UN is, at other schools, connected to a class or even offered as an afternoon activity.
“Given that Williston participates in this simulation on a voluntary basis and did so well is exceptional,” Syfu said. “It truly shows the commitment from the participating students.”
The delegates from Williston did amazing, and earned eight awards.
Anaya Akpalu ’21, Cam Huntley ’21, and Ty Johnson ’21 all earned honorable mentions, meaning they were the in the top five best delegates for their respective committees. Gabriel Davila Bustamante ’21 and Keyu Lu ’20 both earned the Outstanding Delegate award, making them the second best delegate in their committee. Liam Coughlin ’21 and Nathan Shatz ’21 were awarded the Best Delegate award.
Congratulations to Anaya Akpalu ’21, Chelsea Clark ’19, Liam Coughlin ’21, Gabriel Davila Bustamante ’21, Abby Dennin ’20, Cam Huntley ’21, Sara Johnson ’21, Tyler Johnson ’21, Keyu Lu ’20, Christina Negron ’22, Poojaa Prakash Babu ’21, Nathan Shatz ’21, and Walter John Solzak ’22 for their incredible performances.
Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the student newspaper The Willistonian.