Model UN team travels to Philly for ILMUNC

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To practice their skills of diplomacy, public speaking and collaboration, the Heritage Model United Nations (MUN) team competed at the Ivy League MUN Conference (ILMUNC) in Philadelphia.

They arrived Jan. 26 and visited Reading Terminal Market, a local indoor farmers market selling meals and groceries. Next, they admired the art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art before conducting their team strategizing meeting to discuss the upcoming competition.

During six committee sessions of two to four hours each, delegates tackled topics such as governmental surveillance and natural disaster preparedness. 

Junior Shania Mahmood competed in the Press Corps committee, surveying other committees and reporting on them. “We were asked to focus on two committees and write primarily about them for the entirety of the weekend. I focused on DISEC and Special Summit, which both had American Heritage delegates in them. For me, this committee became more than writing and journalism but also advising my peers and applauding them on their hard work,” Mahmood said.

The team toured the University of Pennsylvania, guided by former American Heritage students. They were able to meet Penn students and old friends, while learning about life at the university.

At ILMUNC, the students enjoyed some of their team’s annual traditions including the ghost tour where they visited Independence Hall, dinner at the City Winery, Shabbat traditions, touch football, the post-first committee debriefing session and long walks in the cold night. 

On this trip, the team put senior Asher Lee on “trial” for allegedly setting an alarm for 6:45 a.m., which in their opinion, was too early. Lee was found guilty despite the efforts of his defense attorneys seniors Aurora Lai and Mary Abi-Karam. 

“Being on trial was hilarious and slightly nerve-wracking, especially because it was actually [senior] Srijan [Deoraj] who framed me by setting the alarm on my phone,” Lee said.

Lee’s punishment was to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the top of his lungs while walking down the street. 

After playing touch football, the team — accompanied by advisor Mr. Mark Gruskin and chaperones Ms. Laura Decelis and Ms. Alexandra Stahlshmidt — walked around Philadelphia. Suddenly, cheers erupted in the streets. The Philadelphia Eagles had just won the NFC Championship Game, qualifying for the Super Bowl, and the city was suddenly filled with crowds of excited fans.

“The experience was certainly a memorable way to end our trip. There was so much happiness in the air,” junior Melissa Bermudez said.

The next morning, the team left for the airport at 4:30 a.m. and flew back to Fort Lauderdale later that day.

“It was a great, challenging, stimulating experience for everyone. I’m proud of how hard everyone worked and the amazing bonding experiences our team had. I’m also proud of the success we achieved,” Mr. Gruskin said.

Here is a list of the awards:

Best Delegate: Ian Lumer, Luke Engelhard, Asher Lee

Essay Contest Winner: Kayla Giset

Honorable Delegate: Mark Gurevich, Kayla Giset, Rob Gioia, Maya Whiting, Jordan Folks, Jonathan Lowsky, Evan Seifer, Andrew Alper, Andrei Codreanu, Zaara Lacewala, Srijan Deoraj, Mary Abi-Karam

Verbal Commendation: Ty Holfield, Arkady Gurevich, Jordan Antevy

Now a senior at American Heritage, Anya returns as Editor-in-Chief of the Patriot Post. With her passion for journalism, she is Co-President of the Quill and Scroll Honor Society. She started an organization called “ActionPAKT: Projects Advocating for a Kinder Tomorrow” to educate youth about current issues and help them take action; currently, she has expanded it to 15+ chapters in multiple countries, raising $17,000 within the Heritage chapter itself. As a Youth Ambassador for Bullets4Life, Anya advocates for gun control. She leads the top Model UN program in the nation as President, competing nationally and organizing conferences at school. To relax, Anya hangs out with friends, swims, goes on walks and binge watches Netflix. She loves the beach, good food and her lazy little dog Simba more than anything.