hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 9, 2013

Whittier successfully debates world issues

They set aside their voltmeters, hung up their stethoscopes, dropped their chef’s knives and put away their wrenches to tackle some of the biggest problems facing mankind.

For a group of students at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High, it was time to find solutions to world issues, the kind that are regularly talked about at the United Nations.

After three days of discussion, negotiation and debate, Whittier’s team walked away from a Model U.N. competition with a Best Delegate award, two People’s Choice awards and two honorable mentions.

The 18-member team had spent much of the school year honing its debating skills and knowledge of world issues and entered the competition with high hopes. For the past three years, Whittier had won the “Best Delegation” award, but missed out this year to Haverhill High School’s Model U.N. team. The Model UN Club, which is open to students in all grades, meets weekly but most of the students who competed at the competition at UMass Lowell are seniors who are in a United Nations senior elective class.

“The competition was tough this year,” said Abigail Gilmore of Haverhill, a Whittier culinary arts senior.

The annual competition, hosted by UMass Lowell, was held last month and featured about 120 delegates in total from six high schools: Whittier Regional, Haverhill High, Lowell High, North Andover High, Reading Memorial High and Timberlane Regional.

Students played the roles of diplomats and officials representing various countries. They formed seven committees to discuss current topics of international concern to the United Nations, including child trafficking and the promotion of global trade.

Jana Brown, a Whittier history teacher and UN co-advisor, said her students all worked hard and represented themselves well.

“I love seeing our students so engaged in the discussion of current world issues,” she said.

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