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Students focused on United Nations
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WCHS student Aiden Carey presents her side of the debate in a simulation before the School Board, while fellow Model UN member Elizabeth Morrison listens to her position. - photo by Lacy Garrison

High school students from the Model UN Club impressed School Board members with a debate-style mock session during the most recent School Board meeting.

Model UN is an academic simulation of the United Nations for WCHS students. Its purpose is to educate participants about current events, international relations, diplomacy, and the United Nations agenda.

This simulation was over the topic of inclusive education with a discussion regarding the funding of Model UN teams and the representation of underprivileged and rural areas.

After a brief introduction of the 13-member team, students took on roles as diplomats for a 15-minute discussion before the School Board.

Junior William Hutchinson represented Urban Education while presenting his position in support of private institutions as opposed to rural public schools.

“Why give the money to a rural school when it could go toward a very expensive private school to set them further apart from small schools?” asked Hutchinson. “The money could be used for food and computers rather than to improve a small school that obviously needs the money. Natural selection, survival of the fittest, I rest my case.”

Offering an opposing viewpoint was senior Elizabeth Morrison representing Barefoot College. Her passionate delivery earned applause from School Board members.

“I find it appalling that the representative from NCUEA would insult the integrity and worth of public, rural schools as well as the value of students attending such institutions,” said Morrison. “Privileged students attending charter schools have no more right to a good education than those with fewer opportunities at underfunded rural schools. The fact that Mr. Hutchinson would infer such notions is entirely offensive and egregiously out of line. The movement to privatize public education is a dangerously bad idea.”

She continued to argue that all charter schools have done is accelerate resegregation within communities by race, class, achievement and special education status in order to create an unfair, homogenous climate within the schools.

Added Morrison, “Charter schools, as well as private schools, were once grass-root initiatives to improve public education. However, today, they are nothing but a back door for corporate profit. Meanwhile state educational funding continues to be cut and budget and balances worsen by the transfer of public tax money to charter schools.”

WCHS Spanish teacher Elizabeth Pease, who serves as student advisor for Model UN, invited the Board to look at the students’ awards. 

“Look at your production. This is your product and this is universal throughout the school,” said Pease addressing the School Board members. “This is a really diverse group of kids and they’re not all academic superstars. They are really good kids and have a passion for international relations so you can see they are interested and willing to work.”