Notre Dame High School students earn national awards in Model United Nations event

By Christina Leslie | Trenton Monitor Correspondent

A group of students from Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, had the opportunity to share their views on topics of world impact during a Model United Nations conference held Dec. 1-4 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. In addition to flexing their writing and public speaking skills, four of the Lawrenceville Catholic school students took home national awards for their academic prowess.

Notre Dame has competed in the Rutgers-based Model United Nations conference for nearly 25 years, and also competes in a similar event each winter in Philadelphia. The conference is described by their founding organization, the Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, as a “geopolitical simulation where students are assigned a role as a delegate of a given country and are tasked with representing that country’s positions and arguments on a topic of global importance.”

The team of 23 NDHS students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, prepared position papers, debated their views before the general assembly, and interacted with other competitors hailing from cities and towns in New Jersey, New York, California, even the Dominican Republic. At the conference, they were assigned to represent different countries and divided into various committees which discussed disarmament and international security, world health, U.N. security and petroleum exporting.

Notre Dame’s Ryan Landi and Eddie Monahan took home the conference’s “most improved in social, cultural and humanitarian” award, while the award for “best position paper in disarmament and international security” was won by Joseph Kale and Grant Schwartz.

Kale, a senior in the Lawrenceville high school, said attending the Model U.N. was “a very positive experience. It gave me an opportunity to sharpen my writing, speaking and critical thinking skills alongside others who share similar interests.”

Notre Dame sophomore Schwartz joined the club to satisfy his interest in government and politics, and was pleased to interact with students of different backgrounds of his own. “I witnessed countless cultures, languages, races, nationalities, beliefs, opinions, and perhaps most importantly, personalities. So, I joined Model United Nations, and joined again, because I have realized … it is an opportunity to learn about yourself. “

Mari-Clare McNamara, a senior in Notre Dame, first got involved to strengthen her public speaking skills, but “not only did I become a better public speaker, but I developed a genuine interest in global events,” she said.

Sophomore, Sara Haas, said, “Through [Model U.N.], I have kept up on current events, something that I think is important for all teenagers. In my committee … there were students from all over the United States and even two from the Dominican Republic. I loved the depth that this brought to the experience because it was like the real U.N. where people come from everywhere.”

Many Nations, One World • The Model U.N. Club students in Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, exhibit flags from across the globe during their Dec. 1-4 conference and competition at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Photo courtesy of Notre Dame High School

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