WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School students in the Model United Nations Club attained a variety of awards while debating at the virtual YMCA Model UN Conference recently, including the club-encompassing Outstanding Delegation award.

Although the annual conference is typically a three-day event in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with nearly 2,000 attendees from a variety of states, the COVID-19 pandemic required participants to replicate the actions of the United Nations through Zoom, instead.

“Even in the worst of situations they could make something meaningful out of it, and they can take that with them in life,” said Daniel Farabaugh, who has advised the Model UN Club at Westfield High School for over two decades. “Just having an intellectual debate is good in itself.”

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Westfield students held leadership positions and received recognition for distinctive performances during the conference, including the following:

  • Nyah Wysokowski and Colin Cimei were recognized as Outstanding First-Years.
  • Kavya Panjwani, Catherine Angel and Aidan Berman were named Premier Diplomat.
  • Justin Anderson was elected to serve as the 2022 Secretary General.
  • Patrick Lanza was elected to serve as an officer for the 2022 Model UN Conference.
  • Nathan Lechner, Dylan Berger, Eric Mordkovich, Jordan Horowitz and Justin Anderson served as officers during this year’s conference.

Justin Anderson was chosen to attend the two-week Conference on National Affairs.

Westfield High School junior Justin Anderson, who won the position of secretary general, is taking on the highest student leadership opportunity to prepare for the January conference all throughout the year.

The Westfield delegation has not had an elected secretary general in nearly a decade, if not longer, according to Farabaugh.

“I’ve been left so inspired by all the people I’ve worked with and I’m excited to step into more responsibilities for my final conference as a student,” Anderson said.

The four other Westfield students, who served as officers during this year’s conference, worked closely alongside student leaders from different delegations to lead debate sessions, provide vital resources for delegates and reshape conference activities to fit the online structure.

Due to the online format, Model UN participation from Westfield High School dropped significantly this year, Farabaugh said, as students lost the social opportunities to room with fellow students at the Hershey Lodge and physically meet debaters from other delegations.

“It didn’t feel the same to not be able to talk to other countries when working on amendments and resolutions when we were in committee,” said Westfield High School junior Anjali Jain, who has participated in Model UN for two years. “I hope it’s in-person next year so our debates can be better.”

Shreya Jyotishi is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.

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