By Hannah Lilley
Ponte Vedra High School is creating the next political leaders and ambassadors for the future of our world. Student members of Model United Nations are grasping an understanding for political affairs and global conflicts occurring in today’s society. With pure talent and determination, the team has even performed at out-of-state events versus nations from all around the world.
Model UN is an international academic club, featuring simulations of real United Nations enforcements and policies, all striving for global peace. Club members represent ambassadors from nations across the globe in actual UN crises or situations to collectively come to a common agreement with other delegates to resolve said conflict.
At conferences, all members are assigned a country and topic regarding a world conflict that must be solved collectively with other delegates from other schools. Students must follow their assigned nation’s policies and procedures in order to properly represent at the conference through extensive research and preparation beforehand. Committees and topics can range from United Nations Security Council featuring solutions to stop Boko Haram and ISIS involvement to United Nations Women with a focus on achieving gender equality.
Ponte Vedra’s Model UN team shows high potential. At almost all conferences attended, at least one team member or overall team delegation has been awarded — at conferences like GatorMUN, held at the University of Florida, all the way up to Washington D.C. for NAIMUN (North American Invitational Model United Nations), hosted by Georgetown University.
Last year, the team won the state championship at FHSMUN (Florida High School Model United Nations) held annually in Altamonte Springs and brought home an Outstanding Delegation award, the highest achievement presented.
This same streak of high skill level was seen again this past Feb. 29 at the same conference, winning yet another Outstanding Delegation award for the varsity team and a Distinguished Delegation award for the junior varsity members. Also rounding out this win were three Best Delegate award winners, the highest honor for individual delegate wins, and one Most Improved award.
Jordan Schemmel and Philip Sabado are the coaches of this distinguished team. Schemmel, head coach and founder of Ponte Vedra’s team, has been involved with Model UN for over a decade and has trained students now involved with the United Nations Peace Corps. He was a mentor to Sabado, who formed his own passion for the sport during his teenage years and throughout college at the University of North Florida.
With around 40 students involved with the club this year, Schemmel says, “We have doubled in size since last year and are so much stronger than before.”
Photo courtesy Jordan Schemmel
Ponte Vedra High School’s Model United Nations varsity team members pose in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. during their first national conference. Pictured are Kyla Scott, Gregory Kearney, Michael D’Aquila, Hannah Lilley, Mia Cleary, Joseph Sarci, Alexa Sarci, Isabel Muir and Indrajit Sokkhar.