SHREWSBURY, NJ (January 28, 2020) - The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County was named an Outstanding Delegation by YMCA Model United Nations conference leaders at the recent annual three-day gathering in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Three Middletown students were among those who achieved individual honors, and Ashley Biddle, the Y’s Civic Engagement Program Coordinator, was awarded the Gail C. Jochen YMCA Values Award, an annual award given to an advisor who demonstrates dedication to youth development and the values of the Model United Nations (Model UN) program.

YMCA of Greater Monmouth County was represented by over 160 delegates at the conference, including 12 students from Middletown South High School and Thompson Middle School. In all, 2,000 students in grades 6-12 from across the Mid-Atlantic region gathered to research, discuss and debate prominent global issues.

Sign Up for Middletown Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Hosted by the YMCA of Greater Philadelphia, conference delegates were assigned a country to research and worked together to write and present resolutions. Aside from increasing awareness of international affairs, delegates refined their debate and public speaking skills while building confidence and making new friends over the course of the weekend.

“We are proud of the great achievements of our students and their leaders at this year’s Model UN conference,” said Laurie Goganzer, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Monmouth County. “The Y is committed to fostering an understanding of world issues and to developing global citizens that can lead the next generation with peace and diplomacy.”

Sarah Cohen, a junior at Freehold High School and three-year participant of the program, was re-elected by her peers to serve at next year’s conference as the Chief Justice of International Criminal Court-A (ICC). Delegates in ICC examine historical figures and determine if they are innocent or guilty of the crimes they are charged with under the Rome Statute.

Raymond Faiella, a sophomore at Red Bank Regional High School, was elected to serve as the Chair for Council on Economic Advancement-A in 2021. Students who are elected chairs work with Y leaders throughout the summer and fall to prepare committee topics and activities for the winter conference.

Local high school delegates were awarded as follows:

Kiernan Hesse (Middletown South High School) – Premier Diplomat of Historical Security Council B and nominated to attend the Y Conference on National Affairs

Isabella Apostolides (Middletown South High School), Leila Merhi, Avani Shinde and Mira Shah (Holmdel High School) – Outstanding Legal Brief in the International Court of Justice

Mikayla Spencer, Sara Kalanther, Caleen Salame and Riya Anand (Freehold High School) -Outstanding Legal Brief in the International Criminal Court

Chukwudubem Echezona (Freehold High School) – Premier First Year Delegate of General Assembly C and Superior Country, Norway Diplomats

Kieran McLean (Freehold High School) – Premier First Year Delegate of African Summit

Josephine Howard (Biotech High School) – Premier Diplomat of Social, Humanitarian, Cultural C

Diana Bendit (Freehold High School) – Outstanding Country Research Paper for Pan American Summit

Ayush Sinha (Freehold High School) – Outstanding Country Research Paper for European Summit

Brionna Seward (Freehold High School) – Outstanding Country, Greece Diplomats

Anthony DeVitto (Red Bank Regional High School) – Outstanding Country, Greece Diplomats

Ashley Lee (Freehold High School) – Outstanding Country, Greece Diplomats

Alessa Alex (Freehold High School) – Outstanding Country, Hungary Diplomats

Jennie Healy (Freehold High School) – Superior Country, Norway Diplomats

Oluwasayo Daniel (Freehold High School) – Superior Country, Norway Diplomats

Madeline Fields (Holmdel High School) – Superior Country, Norway Diplomats

Ava Vakili (Holmdel High School) – Nominated to attend the Y Conference on National Affairs

Middle school delegates were awarded as follows:

Taryn Gonzales (Thompson Middle School) – Premier Diplomat General Assembly B

Devon Roth (Satz Middle School)– Chosen as Closing Ceremony Delegate Speaker

Sydney Sun (Indian Hill School)– Premier Press Delegate

Sophia Barwicz (Indian Hill School)– Premier First Year Delegate of General Assembly A

Jack Powers (Satz Middle School) – Premier Diplomat of General Assembly A

Alexia Zambito (Satz Middle School) – Premier Diplomat of General Assembly E and Outstanding Country Research Questionnaire

Jayden Francis (Indian Hill School) – Outstanding Country Research Questionnaire

Lauren Laudi (Satz Middle School) – Outstanding Country Research Questionnaire

Sirina Ganne (Satz Middle School) – Outstanding Country Research Questionnaire

Sophia Laudi (Satz Middle School) – Outstanding Country Research Questionnaire     

This year’s conference took place January 3-5. For information about Model UN and other YMCA Civic Engagement programs, contact Ashley Biddle at 732.845.5273, ext 6.

About YMCA of Greater Monmouth County
YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is here for all – to empower youth and teens, improve health and strengthen community. A leading nonprofit charity, the Y unites 36,000 people of all ages, incomes and backgrounds. In 2019, we provided $875,000 in financial assistance to strengthen approximately 2,820 families in need. The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County formed the countywide Y on Sept. 1, 2019. Our life-changing programs and services are anchored in 10 communities: health and wellness facilities in Freehold Township, Old Bridge and Red Bank; outdoor day camps in Millstone and Wall; a community center in Freehold Borough; counseling and social service centers in Eatontown, Matawan and Middletown; child care centers in Freehold Township, Matawan and Red Bank; and integrated in nearly 100 schools in Monmouth and Ocean counties. We’re based in Shrewsbury, NJ. Learn more at www.ymcanj.org/strongertogether.