Students and faculty advisors in the Ballenas Secondary School Model UN Club gather at the Model UN hosted at Shawnigan Lake School in October. — Photo submitted by Bruce Richman

Students and faculty advisors in the Ballenas Secondary School Model UN Club gather at the Model UN hosted at Shawnigan Lake School in October. — Photo submitted by Bruce Richman

Ballenas students snare top honours at model UN

Classmates claim school’s first, second Best Delegate awards

After years of taking part in Model United Nations events on Vancouver Island, the Ballenas Secondary School Model UN Club finally won its first award for Best Delegate during last month’s Model UN gathering at Shawnigan Lake School.

Then it promptly won its second.

Spencer Hancock and Devin Owpaluk claimed two of the six available awards for Best Delegate as the Ballenas delegation enjoyed its best showing to date, said Bruce Richman, co-sponsor of the Ballenas Model UN club.

“We’ve done this over the last few years,” said Richman, who teams with fellow teacher Olivia Hill to guide the club. “We’ve always done reasonably well for getting awards for second-best delegate, or best position paper. To win the best delegate was huge.”

The Model UN held at Shawnigan Lake last month drew 281 students from 12 schools, including a dozen members of the Ballenas club. The students were divided into six committees exploring topics of global concern, and had to hold committee discussions, write position papers, hold an unmoderated caucus to group with like-minded members, then develop an action plan and present it to the entire committee.

Judges rated each delegate on intelligence, co-operation and performance during his or her committee presentation, Richman said.

Hancock claimed top delegate honours in the committee on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Owpaluk was the top delegate on the Climate Actions committee.

Richman said Model UNs are particularly popular among private schools, which made up most of the participation in Shawnigan, and are also becoming “quite a big thing” at the university level.

The Model UN is held at least once each year on the Island, said Richman.

“This year we’ll have two,” he said. “The second one is larger and will be in April, in the Victoria Conference Centre. The students are already looking forward to it.”

— NEWS Staff