Signal Mountain Middle High School produced several leaders at the YMCA Southeastern High School Model United Nations Conference (SHSMUN) held in early November. At this regional conference, Tennessee high school students learn about the United Nations by participating in a reenactment of the organization’s activities.
Signal senior Emily Perez served as under-secretary-general, the third highest office, at this year’s conference. Signal junior Caroline Cornett will serve as the highest-ranking official, secretary general, at next year’s conference. Fellow junior Ethan Fell will serve as president of the general committee next year. Fell was chairman of DISEC (Disarmament and International Security) committee this year, while classmate Cornett chaired the UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organization).
Signal’s Malynda Wollert, Tehreem Hussain, Maggie Meller, and Camille Schmied will attend the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) in March as members of a 2018 All Star Delegation. The world’s largest Model UN conference is held at the United Nations Headquarters and the New York Hilton Midtown, with hundreds of schools and thousands of delegates attending from around the world. In addition, five Signal students had interviews the week after Thanksgiving to chair committees next year.
SMMHS, an International Baccalaureate school, sent the largest group, approximately 110 students, to the regional conference in which more than 600 students from three states participated over three days.
“I am proud of all of our IB learners for their interest in and knowledge of international affairs,” faculty sponsor Lorri Whitney said. “It takes the entire community of our school to prepare these students to be global citizens who understand world issues and come up with novel ideas to solve these problems. They learn writing, critical thinking, and public speaking through all of their courses, as well as the approaches to learning, or soft skills, they need to work well with others and be prepared for the conference.”
Students spend the prior year writing extensive topic guides and preparing to chair SHSMUN’s 13 committees. They form delegations and represent member countries’ interests in the General Assembly by drafting and debating resolutions. These resolutions cover a wide variety of topics of international concern. Members must research the position of the country on his or her committee topics and write three Position papers (what the country’s position is) and three Resolution papers (how the country would like to promote/end topic).
Wollert was deemed to have the “Best Position Paper” of more than 600 delegates. She wrote about topics for her committee, SOCHUM (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural). This year’s topics were Examining Child Rights in Conflict Areas, Debt Bondage, and State-Sanctioned Torture of Political Prisoners.
Some students have the opportunity to represent their countries on the Security Council and Secretariat, to participate in a model International Court of Justice, and to serve in the Department of Public Information.
Signal students recognized as Best Delegates were Tehreem Hussain for Legal, Maggie Meller for UNEP (UN Environment Programme) and Camille Schmied for UNODC (the UN Office on Drugs and Crime).
Honorable Mentions were awarded to Signal’s Emma Wu for work on UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organization) and Maddi Meier for work on MUNIC, the Model United Nations Introductory Committee that gives beginning Model UN delegates an opportunity to learn and practice debate and parliamentary procedure in a smaller, teaching environment.
Whitney complimented Signal’s Model UN veterans for working together to ensure new members of the team are ready at conference time.
“They host paper-writing sessions to aid each other with research and writing,” she said, “and they do mock debates before the conference to learn parliamentary procedure. The older students pass along their knowledge and passion for the conference, and because it is so student-driven, they gain excellent leadership skills as well.
Signal also provided middle school students who volunteered as pages at the high school conference to run messages and notes between committee members. A shorter version of Model UN is held in the spring for middle schools. Teachers and parents also served as chaperones.
“I appreciate the entire Signal Mountain community for their efforts to help these students succeed,” Whitney said. “We all have a hand in this process!”