by Sarah Leahy
One hundred and forty WHS students participated in the forty-third annual YMCA Model UN conference in Hershey, PA Jan. 3–6. The delegation won several individual and group awards.
Junior Julia Napolitano was elected as a Presiding Officer for next year’s MUN conference. Sophomore Andrew Zale was presented with the Youth Secretariat Award. Seniors Izzy Smelkinson, Benji Schwartz, Aidan Hughes, Alex Jeffery, Megan Mulrooney, Geoffrey Ko and Jennifer Mandelblatt all served as officers this year.
“[I wanted] to make sure that my committee was an environment where my delegates would feel comfortable with each other and all be willing to speak...and I know I accomplished this,” said Mulrooney, who is the Vice Chief Justice of the International Court of Justice.
Seven students won Premier Delegate: seniors Connor Swingle, Eric Oberman, Alex Breakstone, Liz Griesmer, Katie Rembisz, Charlotte Dreizen and junior Samantha Gruskin. Premier Delegates “demonstrate excellent debate and public speaking skills...and accurately [represent] his/her country,” according to ymcamun.org.
“Winning premier delegate of my committee meant so much to me because it showed that all of my hard work was recognized,” said Rembisz.
Juniors Leo Rosenthal, David Gruskin, Vikranth Eleswarapu, and sophomores Astha Dutta and Maya Moritz were all awarded with Premier First Year Delegate. This award is given to one person in each committee for “all-around exemplary performance as a leader, statesman, and delegate,” according to ymcamun.org.
Seniors Lindsay Ripperger, Austen Thien, Kyra Sagal, Leo Kleiman-Lynch and Maura Heinbokel received an award for Outstanding Brief and Country Research Paper, respectively.
Overall, WHS received the Outstanding Delegation Award, which is awarded to “all delegations that meet all program deadlines and adhere to all program rules,” according to ymcamun.org.
Additionally, seniors Benji Schwartz, Megan Mulrooney, Liz Griesmer, Eric Oberman, Jennifer Mandelblatt, Aidan Hughes, Rob Cassie and Connor Swingle and juniors Brian Mandel and Samantha Gruskin were selected for the Conference on National Affairs in North Carolina, which includes delegates from 38 states. According to ymcamun.org, “CONA is focused on the development of individual and team leadership.”
Chair of Environment and Technology Committee B Rob Cassie said: “CONA has always been emphasized as the highest honor one can be given at the conference.”
MUN Co-Adviser Mr. David Della Fera said, “Next year we are looking to build on the successes that have helped make this program such a rewarding one at WHS.”