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Fort Knox High School earns accolades at Kentucky UN Assembly conference

by Eric Pilgrim

The Gold Standard
Fort Knox, KY | March 22, 2018

Sixteen students at Fort Knox High School recently entered the Kentucky United Nations Assembly Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, to address a big problem — and find a working solution.

According to their three faculty advisors and two school leaders, they did, and walked away with accolades for it.

“We’re beyond proud of you,” said Luis Dominguez, the assistant principal.

Sponsored by the YMCA, KUNA, as it is known, provides students with the opportunity to pretend they are delegates representing countries at the United Nations. The issues are real and global, so students must learn to think not just about how an issue affects their represented country but also how it affects others.

“It’s treated exactly how they regulate the United Nations in real life,” said Esther Ruderman, a senior and one of the student leaders in the club. “The resolutions that the resolution sponsors come up with, they cannot pertain just to the specific country because the UN doesn’t regulate specific countries’ problems. They have to regulate worldwide issues.”

Each participating school sends their delegation to the conference to tackle the issues that affect their approved country. For the students of Fort Knox, their country was Mozambique, and the issue their appointed resolution sponsors chose was human trafficking.

The big event each year is a three-day conference “in which students participate directly in simulated international diplomacy,” according to the KUNA website. “KUNA offers students the opportunity to experience the richness of cultures from around the world, develop empathy, and hone their critical thinking skills while engaging with a wide variety of perspectives and global issues.”

Because of a change in conferences, the students competed against 800 other students in the area at this year’s conference, a much smaller crowd than the one they faced last year against more than 1,200 students, according to Esther Ruderman, a senior and one of the student officers.

The conference provides them with an opportunity to dress up in the native attire of the country they represent and demonstrate the history and culture of that country. However, the conference culminates with the presentation of their resolution to the general assembly in the hopes of getting it approved by the “secretary general.”

When the conference ended, only four resolutions had been approved — including the one drafted by the Fort Knox delegation.

“I’m really proud of everybody and how well they did,” said Ruderman. “I’m really surprised at how well.”

Katherine Chung, another officer, agreed. “We were a good team, guys.”

Besides the cultural experiences, the conference also generated formal debates on the issues.

“The leadership that they showed this year was outstanding,” said Stan Holmes, a special education teacher and one of the advisors. “I watched them in action. Their debating skills were amazing.”

One of those who participated in their debate was Ananda Gallager, a senior.

“The debating part was most important to me,” said Gallager. “I prepared for that for weeks to make sure it was perfect.”

Gallager said those experiences pertain directly to her dreams beyond high school.

“I wanted to boost up my political experience,” said Gallager. “I’m hoping to work in the White House one day.” 

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