NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The South Plainfield High School Model United Nations club achieved greatness at the Rutgers Model Congress(RMC) conference from April 12 through April 15 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where the delegation was recognized as the Outstanding Large Delegation (2nd place overall) of the event. Over the course of four days, the 22 student-delegates worked alongside hundreds of other students from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to discuss and propose solutions to some of society’s most prevalent issues in more than 20 hours of heated debate.

At the conference, the students were responsible for embodying the political views of either a Senator or Representative from Michigan or Oklahoma in simulation of the true Congress of the United States to discuss a wide range of contemporary topics, from man-made drought to eminent domain to cybersecurity. In addition, many of the students participated in specialized and advanced committees, where they were challenged to address a variety of both historical and modern issues, from the formation of the Constitution in the 1787 Constitutional Convention to the definition of libel in the Supreme Court to the 2016 election campaign of Hillary Clinton. Several of the students returned with various individual honors, with Vishika Patel and Ward Alktaish earning the Position Paper award, Lynda Farinella receiving the Most Improved Delegate award, Anthony Laudani and Jelinda Montes obtaining the Distinguished Delegate award, Justin Billich, Arjun Patel, and Kyle Gallardo procuring the Outstanding Delegate award, and Wyatt Gerber and Ezinne Ibeku attaining the Best Delegate award.

However, before the students were able to show off their extensive knowledge and prowess in debate, the students attended two hour-long meetings per week over the course of six weeks, where they honed the skills they would require for success in Model Congress, from congressional words of the day to practice debate sessions about gun control to bill writing. While the preparation process is always strenuous for the delegates, the preparation for Rutgers Model Congress posed a two-fold challenge to the students: not only were they required to develop position papers and detailed solutions to create extensive research binders that would prepare them for the conference itself, but they were also tasked with competing with each other at each meeting. With a new meeting came a new task for the delegates, where the South Plainfield delegates representing Oklahoma, Michigan, and the Advanced and Specialized Committees would earn points as they completed the challenges. “The newly added competition-based facet of our weekly debates, while difficult, provided me with new motivation to work hard in my preparation not only for myself, but also for my group,” expressed Executive Board member Kyle Gallardo, who rounded out his junior season of Model UN with the Outstanding Delegate award.

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Although the hours of preparation and debate were very taxing on the delegates, the work that the students had put in proved its worth when the South Plainfield Model UN delegation was recognized with a delegation award. Out of many reputable Model UN programs throughout the tri-state area, the SPHS club was named the Outstanding Large Delegation, an award that encompassed all members of the group, highlighting the effort that each of the delegates had put in toward being successful. This was especially memorable for the sole senior of the delegation, Roshni Patel, who attended her final conference of her high school career in RMC. “If I had to pick one take-away from my four years as a member of Model UN, it would have to be the memories of all of the people who have taken this journey with me. From the late nights at conferences spent awake talking to the great parties at the delegate dances, Model UN for me created an atmosphere where delegates and friends truly became family. I was proud to have been recognized with the delegation award with my second family, and I know that they will continue to go far in the future,” reflected the senior.

Another conference has come to a close and, with it, the end to another successful season of Model United Nations for the SPHS club. As they look toward the fall, the club hopes to continue this path of achievement as experienced delegates continue to sharpen their skils and newer delegates grow and learn to become better debators, collaborators, and thinkers. Congratulations to all of the students on their outstanding achievement, and a special thanks to advisor Mr. Miten Shah, whose intelligence and dedication has been paramount in guiding the students toward accomplishment.