County students debate world issues at Model U.N.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Is euthanasia a legitimate way to control overpopulation and, at the same time, help feed the hungry?

Should a country be partially reimbursed for investments in the war in Iraq?

These were just a few questions about 100 middle school students from four Lawrence County schools pondered during the Lawrence County Model United Nations at Ohio University Southern's Bowman Auditorium Tuesday.

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Each group of at least four students from Chesapeake, Fairland, Rock Hill and South Point Talented and Gifted programs researched their chosen country and found a concern or need that was written into a resolution and brought before the general assembly.

The resolutions were sent to the other "countries" prior to Tuesday so others could research the issue and prepare debates.

Tuesday, each resolution was read to the general assembly.

After the reading, alternating pro and con debates began and lasted for approximately 15 minutes, followed by a one-minute caucus and a roll call vote. In addition, the students were required to bring a flag of their country and most dressed in

native attire.

Not all of the resolutions were popular - some passed and some failed.

C.J. Vaughn, a seventh-grader at Chesapeake Middle School, and his fellow delegates from China proposed a resolution that failed. Vaughn, speaking for his delegation, asked the U.N. to legalize euthanasia throughout the world. In presenting the resolution, Vaughn pointed out that the population of the world is increasing at a rate of 1.5 percent per year while more than 40,000 people are starving in the world. Given the cost of keeping a terminally ill patient alive, Vaughn and his fellow delegates said that money could be used to feed the hungry.

Despite the defeated resolution, Vaughn had a good time participating in the event.

"I had fun; I came here last year," said Vaughn, who was one of 10 students chosen as "Outstanding Delegates" by judges. "I may have changed the resolution a little, though."

The experience gives the students an insight as to what goes on during real United Nations meetings, said Linda Dickess, gifted coordinator for the Lawrence County Educational Service Center.

"It's a good experience for them," Dickess said. "They learn a lot about the United Nations by participating."

Kathy Rudolph, a seventh-grader at Rock Hill Middle School and a delegate of Singapore, agreed.

"I learned a lot about different countries from the speeches," Rudolph said. "I learned to think about the big picture. It was a lot of fun."

Fellow Singapore delegate Jordan Long, who was participating in her second Model U.N., said the event brings global issues to the attention of the students.

"It really gives kids an idea of what the world can be like and gives them an idea of what the real U.N. delegates deal with every day," she said.

Another experience the Model U.N. offers students is it gives them the chance to interact with people from other schools.

"It helps you see a lot of different points of view," said Chase Burke, an eighth-grader at Fairland Middle School and a delegate from Switzerland. "You see how other schools are thinking."

Pam Brown, a retired teacher at Fairland Middle School, brought her students to the Model U.N. for "at least 15 years."

She said students participating learn a lot of things that apply to real life.

"The kids get a chance to work on

problem solving, become aware of international problems and they learn how to prepare a speech and debate," she said. "They really have to think and know what they are talking about."

Tuesday, Brown served as a moderator and brought two of her former students, Fairland High School juniors Brittani King and Erin Marchese, along with her to serve as student moderators. Both said they had such a positive experience participating in the Model U.N. when they were in middle school they jumped at the chance to participate again.

"I loved it when I was in middle school," Marchese said. "It's a really neat experience. It would be awesome if everybody got to try it."

Lawrence County Model UN awards

During Tuesday's Lawrence County Model United Nations, judges chose 10 outstanding delegates four outstanding countries and four outstanding resolutions. Listed are those chosen:

Outstanding Delegates: Michelle Basham, Chesapeake, Kenya; C.J. Vaughn, Chesapeake, China; Fawn Hoffman, Rock Hill, Spain; Kaiti Cox, Rock Hill, Chad; Haily Hall, South Point, Romania; Tara Bailey, South Point, Jamaica; Jazel DeAutremont, Rock Hill, Liberia; Amy Garrett, Fairland, Papau New Guinea; Holly Wilson, Fairland, Egypt; and Hannah Kelly, Fairland, Egypt

Outstanding Countries: China (Chesapeake: Matt Angle, Kevin Campbell, Cody Hill, Hannah Huron, C.J. Vaughn, Alex Wells, Travis Zimmerman); Luxembourg (South Point: B.J. Winters, Bobby Burgess, Andrew Keffer, Dale Hall, Josh Gilbert, Brittaney James and Rachel Miller); Singapore (Rock Hill: Emily Stumbo, Sarah Bond, Maggie Patterson, Jordan Long, Kathy Rudolph and Brooke Bowman); and Switzerland (Fairland, Beth Schlegel, Ayusa Sinha, Chase Burke, Steve Tweel, David Goodall and Desirae Swain)

Outstanding Resolutions: Egypt (Fairland; funding for safe havens for women with unequal rights; Hannah Kelly, Kathleen Blatt, Kelly Schneider, Holly Wilson and Karen Jones); Kenya (Chesapeake; asking the UN to form a trade of crops to help end world hunger; Michelle Basham, Tiffany Spitler, Blake Adkins, Alyssa Graham, Chelsey Flavin); Liberia (Rock Hill; holding former Liberian president Charles Taylor accountable for his criminal activities; Drew Townsend, Mark Harmon, Jamie Scott, Meagan Hairston, David Rowe, Byron Brammer and Jazel DeAutremont); Romania (South Point; forming an organization to help simplify the international adoption process and decrease the population of orphaned children worldwide; Julie Ball, Ashley Hesson, Haily Hall, David Freeman, Natasha Boggs, Zach Jenkins, Andrew Crager)