PPCHS Takes a Chomp out of GatorMUN

Iris Lee, Staff Writer

  As soon as you step onto campus, your eyes are immediately met with hundreds of students dressed in formal attire crowding the first floor. The floor was filled with anxious chatter, and many took the opportunity to assess their competitors. This was a competition, after all. After dozens of club meetings and sleepless nights, Model UN had finally arrived. With the repetitive clicking of heels on the immense campus of the University of Florida, along with the intimidating glances and stares, you can’t help but wonder. Am I really ready for this? This past January, this was a reality for PPCHS’s Model UN Club, and this competition was a first for many of its members. And in less than a month from now, they’ll need to do it all over again.

   Every year, the Model UN club strives to get every member to participate in at least one competition. In January, the club participated in GatorMUN XIX, the Model UN competition at the University of Florida. This was the first major competition of the year, and was the first competition for the majority of the members. “It was nerve wracking but at the same time exciting. Most people had never gone before, so I wanted them to have a good time and enjoy the experience,” says Nicole Becerra, junior club president. 

   Model UN is generally split into 3 committees: General Assembly, Specialized, and Crisis. Although the different branches generally are regulated with different rules, the overall outcome is the same: solving global problems through embodying a specific role.

   As first time participants, the idea of speaking in front of dozens of delegates from other schools in a formal setting was terrifying, to say the least. “My committee was DISEC, the Disarmament and International Security Committee. My role was to represent the country of Cuba, which was major, because our two topics were about the successful de-escalation of Cuban protests and finding the successful solution to the Chinese Civil War. For my first time doing Model UN, it was really stressful because it felt like everyone knew what they were doing, and I didn’t. Especially since I was one of the main countries involved in the topic, and representing Cuba on the topic of Cuban protests isn’t exactly ideal, I had to figure out how to quickly overcome stage fright and prepare to answer tons of questions,” says Hana Bushra, sophomore. “My committee for Model UN was WHO, the World Health Organization, and I represented Belgium. I was one of the only committees that were allowed to participate with partners. I was super nervous because public speaking has always been terrifying for me. I think it was different with a partner, because someone’s there with you. You can exchange ideas and support each other,” says Samira Butler, sophomore.

   For the next 3 days, its participants would have to spend over 13 hours in a conference room. The competition would begin as early as 8:30 am, and would stretch as late as 10 pm. However, the members learned to adapt quickly to their new environment and form lasting bonds with other delegates. According to Orion Taleon, sophomore, “The delegate social was my favorite part of the event. We met a lot of other delegates who were in the same shoes as us. It established a sense of community, like wow, everyone else is human like us!”

   After such a strenuous, yet fulfilling competition, the Model UN club members are preparing for another competition at FIU in 2 weeks. “I feel like Gator MUN went really well. The feedback was positive, and I feel like everyone feels much more confident now about conferences,” says Nicole. Although its members entered Model UN brimming with anxiety and nerves, they ultimately walked out as a unified whole. Club sponsor Mr. Schwartz couldn’t be more proud of the members. “I have been involved with dozens of clubs and organizations — This team is different. There is a cohesiveness between officers and members that makes the time and effort worth it.”