The Great Bend High School forensics team attended the Wichita Area Model UN held at the Rhatigan Student Center at Wichita State University on Friday, January 20.
The group of 12 students returned with three prizes. Senior Maddix Pokorski received the Outstanding Delegate award. The Honorable Mention Delegate Awards went to Elders Eave Taylor and Alondra Alvarez for their compromise efforts at the conference.
GBHS students wrote position papers for their assigned countries and worked to build consensus for resolutions with other delegations in the mock United Nations General Assemblies.
According to Elder Xanna Smith, preparing for the conference was “extremely nerve-wracking at first because this was the first in-person conference the team has attended since 2019 and only the elders had any recollection of how the conference would actually The challenge was trying to communicate with a large group all at once to have a say in what goes on.
Students also had the opportunity to explore and discuss global issues and solutions to make the world a better place.
“We basically talked about the issues of nuclear disarmament, climate change and human rights in a way that represented the nations that were assigned to us like the Philippines or Morocco,” freshman Zachary Hart said. “We had to give that nation’s perspective on the world’s problems and work to solve them.”
Model UN not only provided students with an opportunity to discuss policy, but provided an interactive environment for students across the area. The lecture also gave the students invaluable confidence in public speaking and fostered leadership skills.
“Personally, being at Model UN has forced me out of my shell,” sophomore Ailey Williams said. “At first it was difficult to find people to talk to because I was nervous. But after the first session it was easier to talk to other countries”.
The students learned many lessons beyond public speaking.
“I have enjoyed meeting new people and getting to create solutions to problems that are relevant today. When we were in the conference room discussing and writing papers, that’s when we felt like we could make a significant impact,” Alvarez said. “I also learned that it takes a lot to reach a consensus, but that it’s acceptable to go down to compromises.”
Additionally, Model UN can also help students with the college admissions process and scholarship applications.
“Universities know it’s a team effort that requires collaboration and research. If you’re willing to work on solving problems, chances are you’ll succeed in college,” said science coach Kim Heath. “Our young people have unique and interesting ideas that deserve to be heard.”
The GBHS Forensic team has a wide variety of goals for the season. There are 35 Panthers on the team who are all looking for opportunities to speak and perform in different ways. They will kick off their regular season with a tournament in Pratt this Saturday, January 28th.