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Boys in Blue? No. Boys in Suits.

By Jordan Young '21

Honorable Chair and fellow delegates: let me tell you a story of excellence. A boy in a spiffy, baby blue suit walks up to the podium for his opening speech. After delivering a gripping piece about the awful Cambodian genocide, he takes his seat. Notes upon notes from other delegates come streaming in, all applauding his speech and asking to work with him. Throughout the conference, he continues to deliver great speech after great speech, moving the committee with his knowledge and persuasion. Come Sunday, the boy leads his bloc and the committee in finding a solution for this dire world issue, which passes with flying colors. This boy, responsible for solving a world travesty, was none other than Joe D’Agostino, head delegate of the STA Model UN team, and his performance at the NYU Model UN conference was, in a word, excellent.

Model United Nations, or Model UN for short, is a mock representation of the United Nations, where “delegates” are separated into “committees” and discuss the issues that plague our world. Each delegate has to balance their own personal view with the view of the country that they are representing, leading to the development of empathy and critical thinking skills. After a four day conference, each committee will usually pass a resolution, outlining their plan to solve highly complex global issues. Providing delegates with a great opportunity to develop public speaking and collaboration skills, Model UN is a club that helps Cadets of Saint Thomas succeed in the committee room, in school, and in life. Junior Oliver Balfour noted, “Model UN is a really unique sort of club. Nowhere else are you able to combine the aspect of world advancement with the science behind medicines or the composition of atomic weapons with the invasion of ancient China by the Mongolians. There are truly so many topics to discuss in Model UN, and I love debating every one.”

This year has been a season of unprecedented success for our Model UN team. Led by senior head delegates Joseph D’Agostino and Andrew Schreier, as well as moderators Mr. O’Connell and Mr. Edel, the team exceeded all expectations. During this season, the Model UN team traveled to New York University in the fall and Harvard University in the spring. Featuring great performances by Cadets such as Abraham Yosef, Alexander Casale, and Nick Tucci, both of these conferences delved into many interesting topics: the threats and benefits of artificial intelligence, the Cambodian genocie, and even a rumor of treason in the Spanish empire. Junior Nathan Russom recalled, “Model UN this year was awesome. This was the first time that I got to visit Manhattan and Cambridge. Touring the UN Headquarters was really cool, as was seeing all the sites in New York, like Times Square and Central Park. It was also sick to go and visit Harvard, even though we all know Yale is better.”

Every conference, a select few members of each committee are recognized as best and outstanding delegates. At the New York University Model UN Conference, our very own Joseph D’Agostino was acknowledged as a best delegate honorable mention in his committee of over fifty delegates, a very high honor in the Model UN world. As if this wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, at the Harvard Model UN conference, D’Agostino and his partner Andrew Schreier were both recognized as honorable mentions for best delegate. To put this into perspective, the Harvard Model UN conference was the largest conference in history. With 4,000 attending delegates from over 100 countries, the conference was jam-packed with academic talent from all over the world. As a result, each committee contained between 200 and 400 delegates, and only three delegations per committee received outstanding delegate awards. In the words of Joe D’Agostino, “It was a real honor for me to win these awards. I feel like a lot of people that win awards at Model UN are really cutthroat and don’t really do Model UN for the right reasons, so it was nice to be recognized, even though I wasn’t going out of my way to win an award.” For our Cadets to win outstanding delegate honorable mention in a committee of 400 is truly remarkable and embodies Saint Thomas Academy’s core value of excellence.

This year’s Model UN season would have concluded with a spring conference to Cornell University in April, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Next year, the team is considering a variety of intriguing conferences, including  The University of California-Berkeley, New York University, and perhaps even making a trek north to either Vancouver or Quebec. So, if you want to be a part of something excellent at Saint Thomas, test yourself against some of the best and brightest students from around the world, explore a vast variety of fascinating topics, or even just travel to amazing places with your fellow brothers, give Model UN a try. It might just be the best decision that you will ever make. Thank you, I yield my time to the Chair.

Model UN Trip Video - By Jack MapelLentz '22