From April 6 to April 9, the South Plainfield High School Model United Nations club channeled their intellectual skills to participate alongside hundreds of high school students at the Rutgers Model Congress (RMC) conference in the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ. There, the students were challenged to debate about and propose solutions to several of the most prominent domestic issues afflicting the United States of America today.

In a simulation of the Congress of the United States, the students of South Plainfield were tasked to embody the role of either a Representative from Vermont in the House of Representatives or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Senate as they aimed to tackle a myriad of contemporary topics, from data mining to immigration to climate change. Several delegates returned from the conference with various honors, with Meera Patel and Lynda Farinella receiving Position Paper awards, Kyle Gallardo earning the “Distinguished Delegate” award, and Vishika Patel obtaining the “Outstanding Delegate” award.

Prior to the conference, the students attended two meetings each week over the course of a month as they began to develop their research on their assigned topics, meticulously crafting position papers and detailed solutions that each delegate hoped would prepare him or her for the conference. “Even though the preparation was difficult, I felt that I was extremely well-versed on both of my topics, and I was able to answer any questions given to me in debate,” stated sophomore Meera Patel. The delegates were always taught to trust themselves and their preparation, and they kept this in the forefront of their minds as they delved into the four taxing yet exhilarating days of debate, interaction, and bill-writing.

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The defining characteristic of the South Plainfield delegation at RMC was the exceptional prowess of its younger members, as the vast majority of the group was comprised of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, all seeking to prove themselves in a conference setting. “As one of the newcomers in the delegation, I was very nervous coming into the conference. However, this experience has strengthened my skills and confidence, and I can't wait for next year!” remarked freshman Dominic Wojewodka, who along with Wyatt Gerber and Braedon Dobrynio, completed his first major conference at RMC. For the sophomores and juniors, several of whom had only one previous conference under their belt, RMC was a journey of self-validation in regards to debate as they looked to further themselves through the Model Congress platform. “This conference was the first time where I was truly able to recognize my strengths and weaknesses as a delegate, so I was able to utilize these strengths and overcome the weaknesses,” recalled Vishika Patel. Overall, RMC became a successful endeavor for each of the members of the South Plainfield delegation, expanding the intellectual abilities of each person and bettering the delegation for the future.

Furthermore, while the conference served as a stepping stone for many of the younger delegates, it also provided a special and thrilling conclusion to the high school Model United Nations career of senior Nicholas Farinella, a member of the club’s Executive Board, whose knowledge of Model United Nations and Model Congress has been cultivated over the course of his four years as a high school student. “Participating in Model United Nations throughout high school has taught me to be a more articulate writer and a more confident public speaker. The best part about this final conference was that, as I began to develop new friendships with the younger delegates, I observed these attributes being absorbed by them, building up what will become the future of Model UN in South Plainfield,” reminisced the senior.

As RMC has come to a close, and with it, the 2016-2017 season of South Plainfield Model United Nations, the future seems bright for South Plainfield as the club looks toward success in the coming year. Congratulations to all of the delegates that attended the conference on their achievements, and a special thanks to advisor Mr. Miten Shah, whose intelligence, diligence, and perseverance continues to guide the club on a path of accomplishment.