As I look forward to the 2022-2023 school year, I cannot help but look back on what was a memorable year for many reasons. The first year of full-scale in-person Model UN since the beginning of the pandemic, a year-long individual awards rate of over 95%, and the coming together of familiar and new faces and families of All-American Model UN.
I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to work with the students I do. Not only does All-American Model UN attract and breed some of the brightest students in the country, but more importantly, the students I get to work with regularly are kind, compassionate, and tolerant human beings. They indeed are individuals who genuinely embody the mantra: “be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
And this is a big statement to make– especially in a space that tends to be so hostile and unwelcoming to minorities, such as Model UN. Not necessarily on purpose, but more specifically because of systemic and systematic barriers to entry.
While actively combatting the items above, our students connected over Zoom week after week to prepare for five elite University-hosted conferences and defeated all odds in the process. Tuning in from each corridor of the United States, the team shared many laughs, ups and downs, and growth from November to April. From SAT and ACT prep to inclement weather and subsequently delayed flights and everything in between, All-American Model UN students proved time and time again why they are the best of the best.
Am I bragging? Absolutely.
Do I take credit for these results? Absolutely not.
I always tell our students that they are the ones in committee, giving speeches, whipping votes, and writing resolutions and directives. They’re the ones winning awards.
They’re the ones who put in the work.
But, in the back of my mind, I secretly hope that maybe one tip or strategy I provided along the way helped them out. Maybe one piece of feedback tipped the scale in their favor. Perhaps that last-minute call before the conference gave some extra bit of knowledge.
And despite our students defining and embodying what it truly means to be the “best of the best,” we shared many moments of heartbreak and frustration with Model UN and the outside world alike. Yet, despite these moments, I find myself learning from my students’ coping and persistence lessons because they are “forces” in every sense of the term. I, like them, am an ever-growing and ever-changing human being and student of the universe– and that is something that we all have learned to remember, especially in those more difficult moments.
And that is just a brief glimpse into the past year.
Yet, the foundation and precedent set last year is all the more reason why I am looking forward to this upcoming year.