3 Win Gavel Awards at Model UN Conference

Sarada Symonds, Staff Writer

Model United Nations competed in the eighteenth annual Contra Costa Model UN Conference on November 2 and 3. The conference was held at Diablo Valley College, where students from sixteen schools represented various countries in a forum discussion of world issues.

Nuclear proliferation and poverty reduction were the focus of this year’s conference. Campo students’ specific countries included France, Democratic Republic of Korea, Colombia, Canada, Togo, and Sudan. Some delegates were faced with a “surprise crisis” which required immediate response.

Though the Best Delegation title, the honor given to the school with the greatest overall performance, was won by California High School, both Campolindo and Athenian were strong contenders for the award. Keynote speaker Kevin Chan called it the “closest race in recent history.” Chan is the founder of the Model UN education service, Best Delegate, a company whose goal is “to teach Model UN and work hard to maintain the best Model UN website in the world” by providing workshops, webinars, and summer camps for teachers and students.

Campolindo brought home several individual honors. Senior Eric Ho and juniors Zach Scherer and Tristan Caro won Gavel Awards for their work in the Security Council and the Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee. The Gavel Award is highest honor that can be earned by a delegate, and is based on their performance in their committee. Each committee has only one Gavel Award winner.

The conference also gave students the chance to collaborate with other schools in the county such as Acalanes, Deer Valley, and Athenian. Junior Zach Beck, who represented Sudan in the World Health Organization, said, “It was interesting to see other students who were interested in other nations.”

To prepare for the competition, delegates attended lunch meetings on Wednesdays in Ms. Kerr’s room. “I researched my country on the internet, and went  to the Wednesday meetings at lunch” said Beck. According to Beck, the work was worth it. “It’s a great way to learn about current affairs.”

Scheer said, “Last year someone dropped out at the last minute, and Ms. Kerr asked me to fill in. I didn’t think I was going to like it, but this year I won a Gavel, and it was awesome.”

Junior Mikaela Moore saw Model UN as a way to improve communication skills. “I wanted to do more public speaking than I already was,” she said. “I though it would be lame, but it ended up being really fun.”