Tonawanda News

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March 16, 2013

Decade of diplomacy

Ken East Model UN team wins competition for 10th year in a row


Tonawanda News — ”We’re dealing with issues like Syrian refuges. ... With each passing year, kids come back and tell me things that are impressive.”

In addition to the knowledge of current events and issues, Knab said, the students also gain public speaking experience. He’s seen students shaking from nervousness who nevertheless continue on with their presentations.

”There are moments in which these kids are standing in front of hundreds and hundreds of people, representing someone they’re not ... but they do it and they do it well,” he said. “By the third or fourth times they’re up there, they feel much more comfortable. I think that might have an impact.”

It’s a lesson that’s not quickly lost.

Ken East graduates Jamie and Ian Boswell and Grace O’Connell, members of the school’s winning Model U.N. team in 2011, dropped by for a visit to the school Friday. All three said that their experience with the team still helps them to this day.

”I can sit down and watch the news and know what they’re talking about,” said Ian Boswell, now a student at Long Island University Post. “It really teaches you how to know what’s important. A lot of things get muddled up in the news.”

O’Connell agreed.

”It kind of gave me a different type of confidence,” she said. “I learned how to think on my feet quickly, doing this ... which is a very good thing. It’s just a different way of thinking, I guess.”

In addition, she said, the experience has helped her relate to students of different backgrounds at the University of Rochester, where she’s studying psychology. “It’s nice to be able to know where they’re coming from.”

Knab said that other former Model UN students have gone on to work in presidential administrations, international politics and Washington think tanks, as well as many other fields.

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