This year our Five Oaks Middle School Model United Nations group included 24 middle school participants, the largest number to have taken part from Five Oaks yet. These 24 students represented 10 countries and each group researched their country’s culture, celebrations, government, currency and other important details. Using these details, they created display boards and selected an issue their country faced and wrote a paper detailing the issue along with an in-depth solution to that specific problem.
These months of work each year culminate in a two-day conference where students present their ideas to rooms of peers for debate and discussion. Groups who are ranked highly by their peers in terms of being prepared, presenting debatable and effective solutions and speaking well, progress to speak in front of larger groups of students in General Assembly or Plenary. In General Assembly, two sessions are held simultaneously and all students in attendance are sorted into one of the groups to hear certain proposals again and debate them in this larger setting. In Plenary, all students attend a single session and hear a few of the groups present and debate their topics in front of the whole convention. Each time that students debate their proposals, the groups they present to vote to pass or deny the resolution. Of the Plenary groups that pass, they get one additional opportunity to share their issue and solution and those few final proposals are ranked in order of importance.
Typically one group is selected as having the issue of the greatest importance and possible solution and that group receives a $500 donation to a charity of their choosing related to the topic they researched so thoroughly. This year, two groups were selected and both were from Five Oaks! Bangladesh, represented by Emily Meade, Brigitte Pinochet, and Grace Ireland was one of those groups and they spoke on the issue of rampant malnutrition in their country. Ethiopia was the other group that took this top honor and was represented by Ranjan Jindal, Jefferson Summers and Gabrielle McGraw speaking on the topic of research-based effective farming practices.
The group representing Bangladesh also received an award for “Outstanding Proposal” which is awarded by a panel of community members who assess the proposals prior to conference time with all student names and school identifying markers removed. Aside from the groups who made it to Plenary, three other Five Oaks groups made it to General Assembly and they were Burkina Faso (represented by Ariella Alfieri, Smith Summers, and Ben VanPelt), Brazil (represented by Caitlyn White and Ariana Alexiou) and Germany (represented by Laney McKinney, Hal Freeland, and Brooke Garrett).
Overall, of the over 80 groups present at this year’s event, only 18 make it to General Assembly or Plenary. Five Oaks Academy represented 5 of those 18 groups! We are so proud of all of our Middle School Students that represented our school so well!