Oasis High MUN team wins big at final conference
A classroom was full of positive energy Monday afternoon at Oasis High School as members of the Model United Nations team reminisced about the latest award they brought home from the final conference of the year.
Nineteen students attended the University of South Florida Global Classrooms MUN Conference on April 7 with 1,200 other students from more than 30 schools. Smiles spread from ear to ear on each of the student’s faces when they said they won the Secretary-General’s Award for the best school delegation. They also won first place awards in three out of the five committees.
Peter Ndiang’ui, social studies teacher and Model United Nations advisor, told his students “if you believe in yourself you will win. You guys went all the way. I am very proud of the team.”
The middle school delegation topics for the conference included kidnapping, children in armed conflict, freshwater resources, situation in Darfur, access to medication, trafficking of wild animals and food security and distribution.
Samir Nacer won the first place award for the middle school category and Nika Verna won the runner up award.
Nacer said at first he felt overwhelmed because of the number of students he was competing against, but his confidence grew when the eighth grade student realized he was very well prepared.
Many of the middle school delegates felt intimidated when they first entered the conference, which changed once they understood what was taking place around them.
Kody Klusner, an eighth grade student, said she was a little intimidated by the conference and was a little scared and frightened on the bus ride to Tampa. She said after she got the feel for the event she had a better sense of what she was up against.
Claudia Sanchez said she was shocked when she learned of the number of countries that were being represented at the conference.
“As long as you know your stuff, you can accomplish anything,” the eighth grade student said.
Other middle school delegates that participated in the conference included Elise Terrill.
The topics for high school delegates consisted of partnership to address the world drug problem, violence against women, multinational terrorist groups, sustainable development of megacities and food security and distribution.
First place winners included Ciara Bennese, Seth Littlestone and Tyler Hollis. Runner-up delegates included Emily Schwarck, Johana Gonzalez and Bernard Sarmiento.
Some of the high school delegates learned some valuable lessons after attending their first MUN conference.
Sarmiento said he learned a lot about the procedure of the Model United Nations conference. The freshman said he now knows what to expect from the next conference he attends.
One of the new approaches Sarmiento will take next year is writing down what he wants to say beforehand to keep his thoughts a little more organized.
This is the second year that Schwarck has participated with the team. The sophomore said she felt that the delegates were inexperienced and it was clear that they were dominating the conference.
Schwarck said when you are at the conference you get a natural high from all the adrenaline pumping through your body. She said you are so eager to get yourself out there that you underestimate what you know.
Once the confidence consumes Schwarck there is nothing that will stop her from talking about the country she is representing.
Littlestone said it feels good to end the year strong. He said they participated in nine conferences this year that strengthened their debating skills, which provided them all with a big confidence boost.
“We are finally getting to this point of winning awards,” the senior said. “It is a better way to end the year. We all did this throughout the year and we did it together in a team effort.”
The other high school delegates who performed well included Devin Bachkhaus, Alissa Tondasch, Kristen Reilly, Nicole Ospina, Karoline Stadelman, Jenna Burgess, Zachary Barrett and Zachary Peralto.
The Oasis MUN team attended 15 conferences in two years since it was formed at the high school. Ndiang’ui said he hopes to go to Washington D.C. next year for an MUN conference.