Two Falmouth students who attend Vineyard Montessori School in Vineyard Haven were among a group of five who participated in the Montessori Model UN at the United Nations headquarters in New York City last week.
Arin Atema, 10, and Marysol Jurczyk, 12, represented their groups at the podium of the UN General Assembly.
The other three students who attended are siblings from Martha’s Vineyard. They are Grace Coggins, 12; Carly Coggins, 12; and Matthew Coggins, 13.
“Montessori Model UN partners with the UN to create a program for about 1,000 Montessori students ages 9 to 15 that offers them the opportunity to formulate, present, debate and revise positions on current issues affecting people all over the world,” according to a press release from the school. “The program combines classroom studies with a global educational experience that enables students to learn about the operations of the UN.”
The students tackled a variety of global issues during the four-day event. Before heading to the conference, the students spent many hours each day in class, researching assigned countries and their countries’ positions on the topics. They wrote position papers, resolutions and speeches. At the conference, they worked with students from around the world to find resolutions for their given topics, the release said.
Arin, a 5th grader and son of Jurgen Atema and Kate Nattrass Atema of Hatchville, represented Malta and focused on the disposal of radioactive waste. This was Arin’s second Model UN.
Marysol, a 6th grader and the daughter of William and Hortencia Jurczyk of Falmouth, also represented Malta and focused on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
“This was my third time going to MMUN. I felt like this was an amazing experience at the UN in 2019,” Marysol said. “My whole class was able to speak at the United Nations podium. I’m so proud of my classmates for doing a great job. My topic was nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, and my conference group made a resolution that passed!”
Deborah J. Jernegan, Vineyard Montessori’s head of school, said that each of the five students had the honor of being selected to speak at the podium.
“It doesn’t usually happen that out of a single group of students, everyone was chosen from their groups to speak, but these are very impressive students,” she said.