FOSTORIA - Twenty St. Wendelin Catholic High School students in grades 9-12 attended the Mid-Atlantic Model United Nations conference in Kalamazoo, Mich., March 19-22.
This year, St. Wendelin students represented Guatemala, Ethiopia and Nigeria, said Brian Shaver, director of the St. Wendelin Parish and school. Shaver also is the advisor to the Model UN club.
During the conference, each student is placed on a team. The teams are assigned to a committee on topics including political, special political, social humanitarian and cultural, legal, economics, science and technology, human rights and environmental.
Nick DeHaven (Ethiopia) and Jacob Sellers (Guatemala) listen to debate on the global use of technology and technology infrastructure on the Science and Technology Committee at the Mid-Atlantic Model United Nations conference in Kalamazoo, Mich.
For students to participate, they have to register the previous spring, Shaver said.
"Students in each committee are given topics to research and form positions in regards to their country's perspective on each topic," Shaver said. "Students have also learned how to write resolutions in UN format and protocol."
Junior Makenzie McAfee served on the environmental committee for Nigeria.
She said she enjoyed working on the committee because it was small and members were able to work together in a tight-knit group.
"To amend a resolution, you need to have a third of the body as majority to pass it," McAfee said. "With attending the conference, you learn to work with the committee as a whole. You have to make sure you and your committee are on the same page when it comes to an issue."
McAfee said her committee worked on topics such as global climate change, the dumping of nuclear waste, biodiversity, agricultural sustainablility and food security.
"Representing a different country, you learn how smaller countries are affected by food shortages and nuclear development and weapons," McAfee said.
McAfee said she has always had an interest in politics and said she is leaning towards pre-law in college.
"From an academic standpoint, the students learn valuable research and speaking skills," Shaver said. "At times, students are talking in front of over 80-300 other students. Some students don't get the chance to talk in front of a group that large."