Spanish students participate in Model United Nations


Emma Bird

Before participating in the Model UN, the students learned the rules and procedures.

The Español Para Hispanohablantes class recently took part in a Model United Nations, where they used their Spanish speaking abilities to have a discussion about the lack of clean water in our world. On Monday, April 11, the class competed against 6 other schools and 269 students at Macalester College.

Many students from the class won awards for their work at the competition. Eighth graders Elizabeth Valley, Jimena McMerty-Brummer and freshmen Myrka Zambrano and Karen Martinez won best position paper awards, while seventh grader Theo Pohlen, eighth grader Peter Lynch, and Martinez and Zambrano won best delegate awards. Furthermore, seventh grader Sophia Williamson, eighth grader Kelly Dempsey, and freshmen Maizey Jackson and Angela Onofre won honorable mentions for best delegates.  

The class was put into pairs, and each pair signed up for a country that they wanted to represent. Then, they wrote a research paper about their country and how their country handles its water.  “Writing the research paper was pretty stressful. It was hard to find a solution not only for your country but for every country in attendance,” Zambrano said.

It was a great learning experience, and I think it’s very important for young people to discuss problems that matter”

— Matthew McMerty Brummer

After they had written their research papers, they started to prepare for the event. To prepare, they continued to research the problem, while also learning the rules and procedures of the United Nations in class. “It was really interesting to learn about the procedures. It’s nothing you really would say in your everyday life. For instance, there are certain phrases you have to use to motion for a formal debate or a speaker,” Pohlen said.

After they had learned the rules for the Model United Nations, they started practicing cases and debates that they could use against other schools. The end goal was to propose an idea that all of the nations could agree to and sign. “They wanted the students to be able to learn how to have a discussion with one another, but more importantly they wanted them to be able to come up with a solution together,”  Mr. Matthew McMerty-Brummer, teacher of the Español Para Hispanohablantes class, said.

Later, the Ambassador to the United States from Mexico spoke to all of the students at the UN, congratulating them on their efforts and reminding them how important it is to be able to speak multiple languages, especially Spanish. After that, the awards were given out to the students. “The director of the program came up to me afterwards and told me how well BSM had done, and how surprising it was that we did so well for our first year,” McMerty-Brummer said.

The program is only available for seventh, eighth, and ninth graders, and McMerty-Brummer hopes they’ll able to do it again next year. “It was a great learning experience, and I think it’s very important for young people to discuss problems that matter,” McMerty-Brummer said.