Hillcrest has sported its very own Model United Nations team since 2010, competing in conferences on both a local and international level, winning a grand total of eighty-nine awards over the span of six years. Its’ participants attend around six conferences each year, debating against notable schools such as Brooklyn Technical High School, Bronx High School of Science, and the NYC Lab School, as well as other schools from different countries. The participants of the Model United Nations program spend weeks on end preparing for the conferences they are known to succeed in, defending arguments and proposing new solutions to current issues that conflict the world, sometimes even creating topics to debate in Hillcrest’s very own conference, HillMUN.
Model United Nations is essentially a simulation of an actual United Nations committee session. High school students from across the city and even from across the world, debate to find solutions to current issues in United-Nations-esque arenas within schools, or even in the case of larger conferences, the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan.
The MUN team of Hillcrest is lead by its advisor, Matthew Jackson. Jackson gives us an insight on the MUN program, “Model United Nations is a student driven course, which means students are given the majority of the control over instruction.” As a faculty advisor, Jackson organizes and registers conferences for the participants to attend, scrambling funds to enroll, and pushing the class to reach its maximum potential in preparation for conferences.
Not only that, but MUN is an intimidating achievement to have under your belt which develops public speaking skills, as well as refining researching skills and other debating qualities. The introduction into the MUN curriculum is a difficult start, however, over time it will become easier as you get familiar with the MUN program. As current chair for the upcoming HillMUN conference, junior Rashell Vasquez puts it: “I started MUN towards the end of my freshman year, not knowing what I was getting myself into. As a current Junior I can say it was the best decision I've ever made … it has shaped me into the person I am today.”
The Model United Nations experience is not just about academics, but it is also the family atmosphere it introduces. “The MUN class at Hillcrest is a close unit of people that are there to support each other” says Rashell Vasquez, and that is true. The Model United Nations family stays tightly knit, throughout the experiences they share throughout the year which allows oneself to communicate with other MUN members without hesitation.
Participants in the Model United Nations program spend the whole school year preparing for conferences of different scales, hosted by international organizations such as Best Delegate, and hosted in national schools such as The Bronx High School of Science, The High School for Enterprise, Business, & Technology, and even Hillcrest itself. The MUN team of Hillcrest usually dedicates about a month prior to their conferences to prepare for the impending storm of points of order, bloc positions, resolutions, and other terms which participants become accustomed to over time.
The preparation is only half of the MUN experience, as delegates debate for hours at a time over resolutions to current issues the world faces. The experience is not just the thrill of debating resolutions or an achievement to show in your college application but, as the Hillcrest MUN team member, Devante Kerr puts it, “That is not the only benefit of this Model UN program; in a way, it opens your views on the world and you're more aware of not only what happens in the city of New York or America, but countries like the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.”
The MUN program is known for winning various awards with the help of the faculty advisor Matthew Jackson and the team members’ arduous preparation for future conferences. The Model United Nations team 0f Hillcrest are currently preparing for their first official conference of the year on Saturday, December 10th, 2016, held by the Bronx High School of Science.