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April 4, 2024

Laguna Beach High School's Model United Nations team receives prestigious Award of Excellence for Outstanding Research and Preparation

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. – Laguna Beach High School's Model United Nations team was recognized with an Award of Excellence for Outstanding Research and Preparation at the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference, which is held annually in New York City. This year, the conference welcomed 2,000 delegates from 25 countries, including 28 students from LBHS who were tasked with representing the point of view of Ireland. 

Established in 1975, NHSMUN is the world’s largest, most diverse, and most prestigious Model UN conference for secondary school students. Long recognized for having the best substantive program on the MUN circuit, NHSMUN is known for its highly engaging debates and its academically rigorous material. 

"Competing in one of the most challenging conferences out there, where rooms are packed with up to 200 delegates and debates go on for hours, is no small feat. It is very much a survival of the fittest environment," said LBHS Teacher Jonathan Todd. "For this reason, many schools opt for small, highly experienced groups. We took a different approach this year, inviting students from all experience levels to create a multi-level experienced delegation of 9 four-year students, 7 three-year students, 7 two-year students, and 5 first-year students. Mr. Shen and I were not anticipating any awards, given our group's varied experience. This context makes our achievement even more remarkable. Every member of our team, regardless of their experience, rose to the challenge and demonstrated exceptional competitiveness," he concluded.

LBHS MUN students visit the United Nations Headquarters in NYC

The LBHS MUN team was tasked with a significant challenge upon receiving their country positions in December, leading up to the National High School Model United Nations conference. Each committee was provided with a comprehensive 50 to 100-page synopsis of their topics. Representing the views of Ireland, LBHS students dedicated their winter break to crafting detailed position papers, a crucial part of their preparation.

At the conference in New York, the students were charged with the responsibility of articulating Ireland's stance within the United Nations. Their efforts culminated in receiving the prestigious Award of Excellence for Research and Preparation. This accolade, as described by the Secretary-General of the conference, is awarded to schools demonstrating an exceptional level of engagement, preparation, and research across topics and committees. It stands as one of the three major awards announced during the Closing Ceremonies.

LBHS MUN students connect with Martin Griffiths, the Under-Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs

During their visit to New York for the conference, the team experienced a tour of the United Nations and a motivational meeting with Martin Griffiths, the Under-Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs, who discussed the Gaza situation he was working on at the time. Additionally, they met with Will Blodgett, a successful LBHS alumnus and current CEO of Tredway, who shared his transformative journey from joining Model United Nations on the encouragement of Mr. Todd to becoming part-owner of the New York Giants, highlighting the profound impact these experiences have on students.

The LBHS MUN team, under the guidance of advisors Mr. Jun Shen, Ms. Lynn Gregory, and Mr. Jonathan Todd, showcased an extraordinary level of commitment and teamwork. The delegation included a diverse group of students: Spencer Anderson (10), Chloe Balliet (11), Lili Bazargan (11), Anoua Carrie (12), Skye Cheney (11), Jacob Cruz (12), Ethan Das (12), Kamal Dimler (11), Nicholai Grombchevsky (12), Adeline Hlava (10), Selena Hsu (11), Kevin Hua (11), Jaden Huang (11), Mallory Keller (11), Ryan Ko (12), Jackson Lawsky (12), Carter Mckinzie (11), Aaron Moy (11), Dylan Newburry (12), Ariana Nikkah (10), Ciara Paul (10), Mila Rafaty (12), Sasha Riahi (10), Emily Shook (11), Zoe Tranbarger (12), Madeline Rootlieb (10), Piper Halpern (10), and Kate Hennessey (10). Their achievements at the conference are a testament to their hard work, the effective mentorship of their advisors, and their collaborative spirit.

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