”Every day, the class is something different, and it all changes with the news,” Burrows said. “We all go home with heavy dinner-table discussions.”
The Model United Nations team is a part of the international relations course Simmons teaches.
Simmons and Whittier Regional High’s advisor Jana Brown are UMass Lowell graduates and studied international relations and Model U.N. there under Professor Dean Bergeron.
Taking the international relations class and participating in Model U.N. competitions can and has put students on career paths, Simmons said.
Haverhill High 2005 graduate Christine Fitzpatrick recently visited Simmons’ international relations class. She talked to students about how her participation in a Model U.N. competition at Northestern University lead to her attending that school and obtaining a degree in global media with a minor in international affairs.
”I went to Northeastern after we won a competition there,” she said. “Through Mr. Simmons’ program at the high school, I got perspective on affairs that affect the global landscape, like the war in Afghanistan. I ended up working at National Geographic and received an Emmy nomination for my research.
“Honestly, I attribute my professional experience and career path to the educational experience in the Model U.N. and international relatoins classes in high school,” Fitzpatrick said.
Other visitors to Simmons’ class have included Boston Consul General of Germany Rolf Schutte, former student Jason Toney of the Bard College Palestinian Youth Initiative, and Mayor James Fiorentini.
In March, Haverhill High’s team participated in the National High School Model U.N. competition in New York City, the biggest event of its kind in history. Over the last nine years, nine Haverhill High students have worked at the event as college students, including three this year. More than 3,000 students from around the world participated.
”Having Haverhill High School students that involved is incredible,” Simmons said.