cymca model un 1PHOTO:  Secretary General Jack Chu and ASEAN Chair Andrew Li, both of Holmdel High School.

Shrewsbury, NJ – Local students received awards and were elected to leadership positions at the YMCA Model United Nations Conference, held in Hershey, PA, January 9-11. This year, The Community YMCA sent their largest delegation yet with 219 students from 14 area high schools. The conference was led by Jack Chu, a senior at Holmdel High School.

The Y also sent 76 middle school delegates to the Middle School Model UN conference, also in Hershey, January 16-18.

The annual YMCA Model UN Conferencescomprise approximately 1,500 student delegates from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.

“We are truly proud of our students,” said Rhonda Anderson, The Community YMCA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Through Model UN, they gain invaluable leadership skills and develop a greater awareness of our global community.”

Jackie Normyle, Teen Development Specialist, who oversees the Y’s program, said the goal of the Model UN Program is to “create informed students who feel empowered to engender change in their local communities and the world at large.”

“The program attracts students who are proactive and engaged and helps them see how they can reach their potential and begin to improve the world around them, regardless of their age. This year’s conference theme, liberation, was reinforced throughout the weekend,” added Normyle.

cymca model un 2PHOTO: Middle School Premier Delegate Award winners (L-R) Ben Ling, Tiffany Kumar and Caitlin Garrett.

Students spent their time simulating the duties of United Nations Ambassadors by writing, presenting, and debating resolutions to address issues of international importance, such as global demilitarization, alternative energy, and oppressive government regimes.

The Community YMCA delegation was represented by the following schools:

Biotechnology High School, Collier School, Holmdel High School, Mater Dei Preparatory School, Red Bank Regional High School, Red Bank Catholic High School, , Maple Place School, Saint James School, Satz School. Middletown School District was represented by students from Communications High School, Middletown High School South, Middletown High School North, Bayshore Middle School, Thompson Middle School and Thorne Middle School.

Each year student delegates elect the officers that will serve for the coming year.

The Community YMCA delegation was recognized with a number of awards at each of the conferences. High School honors went to:

2014-2015 Officers:
Secretary General: Jack Chu (Holmdel High School)

Chair of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations): Andrew Li (Holmdel High School)

Chair of Arab League: Victoria Ovanesian (Red Bank Regional High School)

Chair of Nation Building Committee: Bobby Lussier (Middletown South High School)

Editor-in-Chief of Press Corps: Cassidy DeStefano (Communications High School)

Vice Editor-in-Chief of Press Corps: Margaret Svikhart (Communications High School)

General Assembly Vice Chair: Chris Blair (Red Bank Catholic High School)

2015 Awards & Elections:
Recipient of the Evan & Beth Baum Scholarship: Jack Chu (Holmdel High School)

Nation Building Chair: Christina Froelich (Middletown South High School)

Legal A Premier Diplomat: Jon Dunn (Middletown South High School)

Outstanding 1st Year Delegate, Social & Humanitarian Committee: Kristen Wimmer (Red Bank Regional High School)

Outstanding Country Research Paper: Sean Hansen (Holmdel High School)

Premier Diplomat, European Union: Lauren O’Brien (Red Bank Regional High School)

Outstanding 1st Year Delegate, Press Corps: Amelia Henning (Communications High School)

Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Press Corps: Sara Heckman (Middletown South High School)

Outstanding Youth Secretariat: Chris LoMonaco (Red Bank Catholic High School)

Superior Country: Arjun Gupta (Biotechnology High School)

Premier Country: Brianna Napoli (Red Bank Regional High School)

G20 Chair: Brian Gilbride (Marine Academy of Science and Technology High School)

Conference On National Affairs Invitees:

Jack Chu (Holmdel High School)

Cassidy DeStefano (Communications High School)

Conference On National Affairs Alternates:
Brian Gilbride (Marine Academy of Science and Technology High School)
Margaret Svikhart (Communications High School)

Bobby Lussier (Middletown South High School)

Jack Anderson (Red Bank Regional High School)

Youth Secretariat:
Gavin Fernandes (Biotechnology High School)

Chris LoMonaco (Red Bank Catholic High School)

Jon Brown (Collier High School)

The middle school conference focuses on the General Assembly and International Criminal Court in a modified format that allows middle school students to sample these two separate committees. Through experiential learning, the students acquired new skills in diplomacy, public speaking, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Middle school students were honored at their conference with the following nominations and awards:

Envoy A, Premier Diplomat: Tiffany Kumar (Satz)

Envoy B, Premier Diplomat: Caitlin Garrett (Bayshore)

Envoy C, Premier Diplomat: Ben Ling (Satz)

Outstanding Envoy Country Research Questionnaires:
Anjali Shah (Satz)

Ben Ling (Satz)

Kelsey Cooper (Thompson)

Laura Futamura (Thompson)

Jessica Kaden (Satz)

Vickie Vought (Satz)

Sanjana Gupta (Satz)

Outstanding Country:

Caryl Ahl (Bayshore)

Sophie Larish (Thompson)

Isabellla Myers (Maple Place)

Ryan Kozak (Maple Place)

Riley Adam (Wall)

Alexandra Hummel (Wall)

Normyle added that The YMCA Model UN Conference differs from other Model UN programs in that it is focused on fostering character development in young people. Part of that mission is accomplished by giving high school students the authority to run the conference themselves as the officers of their committees to achieve the goal of developing future global leaders.