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Cape High Model United Nations Club preparing for conference

By Staff | Mar 3, 2010

Members of Cape Coral High School’s Model United Nations Club spent this week preparing for a conference at Florida Gulf Coast University with schools from across Southwest Florida.
The club competes at different conferences across the United States throughout the school year, including one in Massachusetts hosted by Boston University on Feb. 18-22. The 21 students who competed in this conference — representing 1,300 students from all five continents — came home with the Best Large Delegation.
Sixteen Cape Coral High students also returned to Lee County with individual awards, six earning first place and five earning second place.
“We won Best Large Dele-gation, which means we won the conference,” said Mitchell Hoke, a senior and two-year veteran of the club.
Other officers in the club include Ashley Scarfo, a senior and treasurer; Isabel Willets, a junior and vice president; and Caroline Gomez, a sophomore and the club’s historian. Those students who aren’t graduating this year will continue competing in upcoming conferences.
Advisor Michael Cook, a social studies teacher at Cape High, explained that each student spent hours researching and studying countries and international issues before attending the conference.
“They have to study the country, each topic and that country’s position on that topic,” he said. “They put in a good 8-12 hours per topic and some students had two or three topics each.”
On Thursday he informed the club members about the scholarships offered by schools like FGCU for students who compete in two or more Model UN conferences.
Kylee Shirakawa, a senior who is president of the club, explained that country assignments and topics are given to students at the beginning of the year. Most of the Cape High students represented Latvia or Mali, while some others represented real people or organizations working within the United Nations.
Once the conference begins, the students debate in rooms with 15 to 150 other students all representing their own country, person or organization.
Because the club is an extracurricular activity, students depend on donations and fund-raising operations to afford the trips to Boston and other conferences. On March 13 they will host a pancake breakfast at the Beef O’ Brady’s on 3015 Southwest Pine Island Road. It costs $5 and students from the club will be serving the breakfast from 8:30-10 a.m. All proceeds will benefit the students.
Each May the club also organizes a golf tournament to raise additional funding for delegation fees, transportation costs, hotel and food.
Cook said he is thankful to Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral for making the Model UN Club a permanent sponsor and each year donating a large portion of the club’s costs.