A Show of Nations

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Domestic abuse, gun control and overpopulation may seem like heavy topics for middle school students, but for the students who participated in this year’s model United Nations, it was par for the course.

Seventh and eighth grade talented and gifted students from Lawrence County participated in the mock UN, which was hosted Monday in the Bowman Auditorium at Ohio University Southern.

The students from each of the four schools that competed broke into three groups, each representing a different nation.

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Next, the students researched the country to come up with a resolution they could argue.

“It’s a lot of thinking and a lot of writing,” Terry Montgomery, TAG teacher at Chesapeake, said. Montgomery’s students represented China, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Montgomery said the event teaches the students to look at world issues from a different perspective.

“I think they get a different perspective on how other people live,” Montgomery said. “In the U.S., we don’t want for anything. They get to see some of the problems that they wouldn’t normally see.”

Seventh grader Makayla Hannahs from Chesapeake Middle School helped represent China.

“I’ve learned about the problems China’s facing and what the United Nations actually does.”

Hannahs and her teammates argued that the use of robotic fish could help track illegal whalers.

“It took a lot of time,” she said of the process of getting ready for the event.

After the students presented their resolutions the model UN, they defended them, answering questions and hearing arguments for and against them from other students.

Kara Speed, TAG teacher from Fairland Middle, said her students, who represented Nepal, Jamaica and Japan, learned about poverty and other problems.

“I think my kids were astonished at the number of people who live in extreme poverty,” Speed said, adding that the students also learned about the problems associated with drinking water.

Jordan Holman, an eighth grader at Fairland who helped represent Nepal, said he learned not only about the economy but the weather in the country.

“Even though you think it’s cold, it’s actually warm there in the summer,” Holman said.

Each year awards are presented to outstanding delegates, resolutions and countries.

Besides learning about the United Nations and different countries, Speed said the model UN also serves as a social event for the TAG students in the county.

“There’s a very good social aspect for gifted kids,” she said. “They’re very competitive by nature so this is big.”