Highland High School Model UN Team earns commendations at Boston event

Five of the eight Highland High School Model UN students who took part in the Boston Invitational Model United Nations conference in February are pictured with their advisor, Steve Masson. Front row, from left: Kirti Shenoy, Alessia Cutugho and Hannah Peterson. Back row, from left: Tristan Reynolds, Steve Masson and Danielle Stoner. Senior Matt Doubrava and juniors Molly Weideman and Erika Rosenkranse also attended the conference, but are not pictured.

Five of the eight Highland High School Model UN students who took part in the Boston Invitational Model United Nations conference in February are pictured with their advisor, Steve Masson. Front row, from left: Kirti Shenoy, Alessia Cutugho and Hannah Peterson. Back row, from left: Tristan Reynolds, Steve Masson and Danielle Stoner. Senior Matt Doubrava and juniors Molly Weideman and Erika Rosenkranse also attended the conference, but are not pictured.

If the Model United Nations conference held recently in Boston had been the real UN, the delegation from Highland High School (HHS) would have emerged as a world super-power.

For the time being, though, they’re happy with the two commendations they received in their first major conference outing.

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The HHS Model UN after-school club took part in the Boston Invitational Model United Nations (BOSMUN) Conference on Feb. 21-23 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Run by students from Boston University, the conference draws 1,400 delegates from high schools around the world. Each delegation is assigned a country and delegates must defend that nation’s actual real-life position in committees that meet several times a day for three hours at a time to discuss everything from Internet censorship and terrorism to disarmament and Third World organized crime.

“It’s very intense. It’s pretty awesome,” senior Hannah Peterson said, explaining that the conference requires knowledge and quick thinking. “A lot of it is on your feet.”

Although their club was only launched a year ago, the eight-member delegation from Highland more than held its own in Boston among Model UN powerhouses like Phillips Academy Andover and Cape Coral High School in Florida.

And as if being small and new weren’t enough of a challenge, HHS was selected to represent Syria, a nation that has no diplomatic relations at all with nearly a dozen other countries.

Although conceding that Syria was a “tough draw,” club advisor and HHS English teacher Steve Masson said the students benefitted from having to defend the stance of a controversial nation.