Middle Schoolers Tackle World Issues at Kingswood Oxford’s Model UN
Submitted by Kingswood Oxford School
Just over 160 students from 14 different middle schools convened at KO on Mar. 21 to wrestle with challenging global issues during the third annual KOMUN (Kingswood Oxford Model UN for Middle Schools).
Minority oppression and contagious disease were the problems posed to the students, who represented various countries and were divided into seven different committees – three representing the World Health Organization, and four representing the Security Council.
The WHO committees attacked the problems of Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, polio, and HIV/AIDS. The Security Council committees addressed the oppression of minorities in such countries as Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, China, and the Ukraine.
“If there was any doubt that middle school students are capable of debating sophisticated world issues, KOMUN puts it to rest,” said Stacey Savin, who founded KOMUN in 2013. “Under the guidance of our Upper School Model UN committee chairs, the students came up with practical and creative solutions to global problems.
“The 20+ middle school teachers who advised the 14 delegations are equally responsible for KOMUN’s success,” added Savin, a KO history teacher and Model UN advisor. “Connecticut is lucky to have such devoted teachers. I couldn’t do KOMUN without them.”
Under Savin’s direction, more than two dozen members of KO’s award-winning Upper School Model UN team managed the discussions and helped the middle schoolers create resolutions on which the group voted.
KO’s own 12-member KOMUN team, coached by history teacher Andy Krugman ’86, performed exceptionally well at the event, with several students winning individual awards including West Hartford residents Ethan Levinbook ’20, Best Delegate on his Security Council committee; John Doar ’20, Outstanding Delegate on his World Health Organization committee; and Milo Kashey ’20, Outstanding Delegate on his Security Council committee. Molly Carroll ’21 won Most Improved Delegate on her World Health Organization committee.
Two dozen students from other schools also won awards.
From the World Health Organization committees, the award winners were:
- Best Delegates: Mary Charlotte Barnes (St. Timothy); Aaliyah Kerr (Highville Charter School); Mia Seymour (St. Timothy)
- Outstanding Delegates: Johannah Weakley (Masters School); Aaron Peterson (Sage Park)
- Honorable Delegate: Addison DeVaux (Tolland Middle); Keagan Ostop (St. Timothy); AJ Tessner Risser (Hartford Magnet)
- Most Improved: Maddie Rogers (Hartford Magnet); Steven Liu (St. Timothy); Krystal Gentles (Highville Charter School)
From the Security Council committees, the award winners were:
- Best Delegates:Annalise Slate (Bristow); Patrick Henderson (Westfield Academy); Jabrea Ali (Sage Park)
- Outstanding Delegates: Sean Macary (St. Timothy); Erin O’Connor (St. Timothy); Maitreyi Subedi (Hartford Magnet)
- Honorable Delegates: Lily Toomey (Westfield Academy); Brennan George (Bristow); Grace Murphy (Sage Park); Harper Follansbee (Sage Park)
- Most Improved: Maggie Powers (Hartford Magnet); Deirdre Chill (Westfield Academy); Ryan Casellini (Tolland)
“It was really impressive to see middle school students not only understand, but also come up with solutions to complex problems,” said Jen Shook ’15, who helped organize and manage KOMUN. “The topics they covered would have been challenging to any high school or college group, so to see kids 5-10 years younger be able to debate and solve problems and come up with such original solutions was really incredible.”