Fifty-two students from Katherine Johnson Middle School’s Model UN program spent the weekend at the William and Mary Middle School Model UN Conference earlier this month. The students, working together in groups, debated various topics from history to current events. The conference drew over 30 schools and 700 students from around the region.
Model UN is a simulation experience where students become delegates within a larger group. The representatives researched, debated, and spoke on topics while working in collaborative groups. The Katherine Johnson MS Model UN club meets weekly after school to prepare for local and regional competitions. The club, with almost 70 members, is in its second year.
Mr. Robert Long, civics teacher and Model UN sponsor at KJMS felt the team did well in Williamsburg "We are proud of our KJMS delegates, we had about a 90% resolution pass rate - the students learn the art of debate, collaboration, research, writing skills. They have also attended the GW conference, the TJ Tech Mun conference."
Eighth-grader Kaylee Yuen participated in the group debating the Peloponnesian War. She and her group researched and practiced before the conference. “I think Model UN is a great experience for everyone,” she said. “It helps your debate skills, and it helps you work with other students and listen to a lot of different points of view.”
Mayar Al Atbi, also an eighth-grade student, agreed. Mayar said being part of Model UN helped her with her speaking skills and deductive reasoning. She said the best part of the conference was meeting with other students from around the state and staying in a hotel with her friends. “It was a really fun weekend; we were busy the whole time, and we got to see the William and Mary campus and stay in a hotel.”
For seventh grader Bishesh Pokhrel, Model UN is a good way to meet other students as a new student to the school. “My mom wanted me to do it, and I wasn’t sure at first, but once I came to the meetings after school, I liked it, and I liked meeting all the other kids. The teachers who lead the club make it fun and interesting,” he said.
All the students agreed that Model UN is something they want to continue at Fairfax HS. “It is fun and helps your speaking and researching skills,” said Yuen.
Ms. Samira Alhertani, eighth-grade science teacher and sponsor of Model UN agreed with her students. “KJMS Model UN club is a great place for students to work together to solve world problems. They enjoy learning the process of debate and creating resolutions. They really get into their roles representing countries and have a lot of fun creating world peace.”