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Oasis Model United Nations team culls big win

By Staff | Nov 27, 2010

One classroom at Oasis High School boomed with excitement as 11 members of the Model United Nations team shared their experience of winning fourth, along with the most improved delegation in the three-day St. Augustine conference on Nov. 19.
Sixteen schools and 165 delegates participated in the conference from Florida schools, along with one school from Istanbul, Turkey.
The delegates from Oasis High were divided into six security councils who represented China, France, Uganda, Brazil and France.
The six security councils had three topics to discuss, which included nuclear non-proliferation treaty reform, the development of nuclear weapon capabilities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and security protocols in the Arctic.
The students were also faced with a crisis of how to deal with an 8.6 earthquake that later turned into a tsunami at the conference in St. Augustine.
Sophomore Emily Schwark said the crisis situation they are faced with during the conference is a true test to see how well everyone knows their country, along with their opinion. She explained that it is all about knowing your country and going with your instinct on different situations.
Sophomore student Johana Gonzalez said she spends a great deal of time researching the country she will represent before the conference, along with making a binder full of the information she found, so she is well prepared.
The students all expressed that with the extensive research they do on a specific country it became second nature to express what their opinion would be on a certain matter. They said it “feels like you are a country.”
Karen Schwarck, booster member and parent said they are really serious students. She explained that it takes a lot of their time to juggle their school work, along with conducting their research for the country.
“Their heads were smoking,” she said after they finished the three-day conference that averaged about eight hours of debates each day.
Zachary Barrett, Ellana Terrill, Emily Schwarck and Seth Littlestone were presented with the superior award, which is the top award. Alexandra Mills was presented with the gavel award, which highlights students for their influence on the flow of discussions.
Barrett was one of the first members who joined the Model United Nations team at Oasis High. He explained that he joined the team because it was something different.
“I like to talk and debate a lot,” Barrett said about why he joined the team. “It incorporated a lot of things I like to do.”
Peter Ndiang’ui, social studies teacher and Model United Nations Advisor has been involved with Model UN for more than 20 years. His team consists of four freshman students, three sophomore students, one junior student and three senior students. When the team was first formed it consisted of only four students.
He explained that the students have to be prepared for various dynamics during the debates, which is an excellent learning tool for them. Ndiang’ui said the students opinion does not matter once they are in the conference debating the issues because it all depends on the country’s opinion.
He said since they are all relatively young it makes the conferences exciting.
Many of the students expressed that they could not have gone as far as they did at the conference without Ndiang’ui because he makes them shine and do their best.
Senior Seth Littlestone said the St. Augustine conference was good because the team came from nothing two years ago to a team that received an honorable mention.
“It builds your confidence,” he said about the conference.
Karen Schwarck said she has seen many positive changes in her daughter Emily since she became apart of the team. She said Emily was already compassionate and aware of what was going on, but now she is globally aware.
The Model United Nations gives the students a global approach to cultural awareness.
Junior Claudia Hernandez said the conference is a good learning experience for her because it taught her what she needed to do, especially when faced with a crisis.
Schwarck said she formed the booster club, so they could provide an equal opportunity for all of the students who want to be involved with the team.
“The kids are so bright and intelligent, we don’t want it to be a financial problem,” Schwarck explained.
Next year, Schwarck explained that they hope to travel out of Florida to either Washington or Boston for a Model United Nations conference and the following year they hope to travel internationally for a conference.
For the team to travel, Schwarck said they are gladly accepting corporate sponsorships, along with personal donations. Those who are interested can contact Karen through email at karenschwarck@msn.com .
“We want to grow the program, so we can offer it to more students,” Schwarck said.
The next conference, Seahawk Conference, will be held at Cape Coral High School on Jan. 14 and 15.