Model UN travels to William and Mary College

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Stepping back in time, 30 students from the Heritage Model United Nations (MUN) team found themselves surrounded by fall foliage and history in Colonial Williamsburg, Va. They competed at the William and Mary High School Model United Nations conference Nov. 4 through 6.

After arriving at the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites the previous night, the team walked on a bridge through time which led from the visitors’ center to the historical area, with metal plaques sequentially explaining the timeline of US history through one-liners such as, “1913 – You pay no income tax and receive no social security.” They toured Colonial Williamsburg along with co-advisors and chaperones Mr. Mark Gruskin, Ms. Laura Decelis and Ms. Alexandra Stahlschmidt, visiting the Governor’s Palace, meeting historical figures (actors representing them) and enjoying the unique sweets from the Wythe Candy and Gourmet Shop.

Mr. Gruskin led the group to the campus of William and Mary College to play his traditional touch football game before returning to the hotel to prepare for competition. The group competed for three days, with one session the first and last day and three sessions on the second day. Sessions last one and a half to three and a half hours.

“I feel that this is the trip that means the most to me because it provides a unique bonding experience for the students. Every student who has traveled to Williamsburg with us since 2012 has said that this is the one event in their high school years that they will always remember and always treasure. The atmosphere of Colonial Williamsburg, where we travel back in time to 1775, provides a precious aura and atmosphere that gives a common bond to all who experience it, and it permeates throughout the group,” Mr. Gruskin said.

When the team finished competing Nov. 5, they organized a mini golf tournament by the hotel, with junior Aditya Sharma emerging victorious. They played in “pods” of three to five players each, with the winner competing in the finals.

Later that night, seniors Andrei Codreanu and Clayton Zipperian led the team’s traditional ghost tour. They walked the campus and – instead of telling horror stories about the statues and buildings of the area – took a more humorous approach to it. 

“The ghost tour was hilarious. It was easily the best one we’ve had in years and I’m so grateful that I got to experience it. As Mr. Gruskin promised us it would be, this trip was the highlight of my high school career,” MUN Co-President and senior Aurora Lai said.

Junior Jordan Antevy and senior Mary Abi-Karam won Best Delegate, seniors Aurora Lai, Sofia Toledo and Ilan Morr won Outstanding Delegate, seniors Zaara Lacewala and Mudit Marwaha won Honorable Delegate and juniors Elias Smith, Jonathan Lowsky and seniors Trace Binder, Hannah Stadtlander, Clayton Zipperian and Sebastian Luka Salaues Sevo received  Verbal Commendations.

After midnight Nov. 4, the team arrived at their hotel, charmed by its cottage-like feel nestled amongst this forest of warm-colored leaves with a clearwater stream. (Photo/Zaara Lacewala)

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.