Fourteen students from Ballenas Secondary School were recognized for their achievements at a recent Model United Nations conference in Shawnigan Lake.
The conference was based around UN sustainable development goals, and students offered possible solutions from the countries they were chosen to represent.
The Model United Nations club has been offered at Ballenas since 2014, and was turned into a credited class in 2018. Olivia Hill, a teacher at Ballenas who took the students to the conference, described the program as: “an academic activity that simulates the debate, political discourse, and diplomacy found in the United Nations.”
Hill said she’s especially proud of Alena Pawelko’s award for best research — it was the Grade 8 student’s first conference.
“I think I learned more about what it is and what an impact the UN in general makes on the world and in different countries and I learned so much,” said Pawelko about the experience. “I love politics and talking about different countries and how they interact and saying different opinions and debating, so I thought this was a great idea.”
Ramsay Locke, who is in Grade 10, took home the gold award for best delegate while representing Pakistan and the UN’s goal of peace, justice and strong institutions.
“I always love to debate about countries and what they do and the things that happen within borders and to create peace within the countries,” he said. “It was a bit difficult for me to state my point, but I kind of played the victim and I worked in creating peace with other nations.”
Other winners include: Lucy Feng for best research; Madison Dabbs and Norah Kierulf for outstanding delegate in silver and Rubén Mohabeer-Ortiz, Karol Lucero, Sarah Mar, Mika Bakker, Ben Noel, Parker Rietzal, Jade Vincent-Kelly, Alyx Luch, and Camille Dodman for honourable mention in bronze.
The next move for the club is in February, when they’ll go to Vancouver for the largest overnight model UN conference in B.C.