Pacelli students get united look of the world

Published 7:00 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

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Eight Pacelli High School students participated in the 37th annual Model United Nations Program hosted by the YMCA Center for Youth Voice on April 4-6. 

The YMCA program is the oldest Model United Nations program in Minnesota and took over the operation of the program originally started in the Duluth public school system 37 years ago in the 1960s.

According to a press release from the school on Monday, the eight Pacelli students were James Schulte, Alec Klingfus, Grayson Bickler, Morgan Klankowski, Lexi Lewis, Liz Frederick, Andrew Frederick, and Avari Drennan. Many of these students are returning delegates to Model UN with many years of program experience. 

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All students took part in a dynamic weekend-long opportunity representing countries, engaging in discussions of international importance, and honing skills in areas of debate and public speaking, compromise, and conflict resolution. 

This year, more than 600 students from all over the state of Minnesota participated in the conference. All students represent a country of their choosing and spend weeks in advance of the conference researching their country and understanding how to represent the views of their country on the assigned topics of discussion for each of the UN’s Organs and Committees.

The YMCA Model UN models the actual working UN as closely as possible. Students participate in the General Assembly of Nations, and its working committees, or they participate in the “Organs” of the UN — the specialty bodies that have a specialized focus in carrying out the work of the UN such as the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Global Forum.

This year was particularly successful for a number of Pacelli delegates. Ahead of the conference, Bickler was appointed as a Media Official and he spent his weekend working for the conference media team; covering the happenings of the conference, the outcome of the discussions and actions of the committees, and general delegate features, as well as the election results on Friday night.

Liz Frederick was appointed as a High Commissioner of the General Assembly. Her role found her working with committees to address topics of discussion with resolutions — the official legislation of the UN. She worked closely with committee members and Model UN leadership to make sure that actions taken in resolutions were complete and adequately addressed the topics at hand.

Andrew Frederick was appointed as the chair of the General Assembly’s Economic and Financial Committee. In that role Andrew moderated debate, helped to guide delegates in the discussion of topics as well as aid them in how to represent the views of their selected country.

While at the conference, students have the opportunity to run for office to serve in leadership roles at next year’s conference. Liz Frederick, Lewis and Bickler all ran for office in their respective program areas this year. There was a special congratulations to Lewis for winning her election as the President of the Global Forum in 2025.

In addition to celebrating student success at the closing ceremonies on Saturday, Pacelli Model UN advisor and teacher, Nick McGrath, was the recipient of the Hanson-Orlich Award which recognizes one adult volunteer each year for dedicated service to the YMCA and to the youth of Minnesota. McGrath has been involved as a volunteer with Model UN for eight years. He is a program alum, an advisor of students at the program, a content area specialist for the conference, and has engaged in numerous opportunities to develop the program and to serve students at the conference.