UN believable

A group of about 30 students from the local community is getting a bit of recognition when it comes to solving the world’s problems.

Fredonia High School’s Model United Nations team recently was awarded first place for the “Outstanding Position Paper” category at the 61st annual Gannon University Model United Nations Conference in Erie, Pa.

Fredonia came out on top of around 50 schools (both public and private) from New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Club adviser and Fredonia social studies teacher Patrick Newell said the students are “incredibly proud” and were “so excited” for their achievement.

“It was a big win for our kids,” Newell said in an email to the OBSERVER. “As a teacher, I was honored to work with such a talented and dedicated group of students. I am so proud of this accomplishment and it is very well-deserved. The real victory is for our community, because we have raised students who care about what’s going on in the world around them. And they have ideas and solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems.”

“This first place victory comes after months of preparation by the FHS Model U.N. team,” a press release from the school stated. “Since the first week of the 2013-2014 school year, the team has stayed after school every Friday to work on the winning position paper. Their dedication has been exceptional and their hard work has certainly paid off.”

The team also won third place for the “Outstanding Delegation” category. This award is given to schools that display professionalism, maturity and citizenship and accurately defend the position of their country.

Fredonia’s country this year was Pakistan. Acting as a delegate from Pakistan, the students prepared resolutions and deliberated on issues, including: the restriction of nuclear weapons, the global financial crisis, limited clean drinking water and aid for refugees.

“The experience is just learning about other people, other countries, and how the world works,” Newell said. “This was a very dedicated group of students who stayed after on Friday afternoons since the start of school to research about other countries and collaborate to produce an award-winning paper.”

Fredonia Education Board President Michael Bobseine recognized the team’s accomplishments at the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

“This is a really major competition,” Superintendent Paul DiFonzo said. “What an honor for the students. We’re talking about top-notch competition and these students really should be commended.”

FHS Principal Todd Crandall said the Model U.N. team’s win “puts Fredonia on the map in that competition.”

“Mr. Newell does a phenomenal job with the students,” he said at the meeting.

Students on the FHS Model U.N. team include: Kelsey Aldrich, Nicholas Arcoraci, Eliz Arnavut, Matthew Civilette, Madeline Contiguglia, Charlotte Crinnin, Daniel Cross, Gabe Dake, Alexander Dimitri, Morgan Dispense, Jacob Eckman, Jack Fiorella, Jacob Foley, Georgianna Gens, Joshua Goodhue, Brianne Ihasz, Alex Kennedy, Kaleh Mendez-deMello, Ryan Meredith, Nicholas Michalski, Andrew Mignoli, Nicholas Miller, Jasmine Mills, Liam Rankin, Nathaniel Schrauth, Brianna Thompson, Jacob Thompson, Elizabeth Valvo and Dustin Wickmark.

According to a Gannon University article announcing the conference on Friday, “The Model U.N. is a simulation of actual U.N. proceedings, and students are evaluated in terms of accuracy in their portrayal of its member states. The (Gannon University) event, the longest-running one of its kind in the country and the second-oldest Model U.N. club in the world … provides a unique opportunity for American high school students to learn about diverse cultures and political systems around the world. Every year, its conference brings together more than 500 high school students from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York in a simulation of the year’s actual U.N. proceedings.”

The competition this year was held on Friday and Saturday.

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