BORDENTOWN – For the fourth straight school year, the Bordentown Regional High School Model United Nations Club received high praise during its participation in the Rutgers University Model United Nations conference.
Bordentown took home the distinguished honor of Best Small School Delegation at the four-day conference held from Nov. 17-20 in New Brunswick that had 650 kids participating from 35 different high schools around the tri-state area.
The high school sent six students to participate in the conference this year: Seniors Sucheth Mididoddi and Aaron Vedaraj; Juniors Jeremiah Paul and Ajay Donthula; and Sophomores Patrick Dziegielewski and Hasini Gokavarapu.
“As a small school, I think the ability to participate in these (conferences) is such a great opportunity for us and it helps put Bordentown on the map,” Mididoddi said. “I have a lot of pride that I go to school here. Being able to represent the school and ourselves at these events is such a great opportunity we get to have.”
All six students were led by club advisor John Tobias, who is a social studies teacher at the high school and has helped the program win the Best Small School Delegation at the Rutgers University Model United Nations (RUMUN) conference the past four years.
Throughout all the success the club has had over the years, Tobias says the best part about all of it is seeing his students getting the opportunity to develop skills that they can use moving forward into college and in the workplace.
“We don’t stress winning awards. I just want my students to be part of whatever the conversation is,” Tobias said. “It’s really all about the speaking skills, the debating skills and thinking on your feet.”
The RUMUN conference offers students the chance to debate topics based on the committee they are participating in, and also have the opportunity to attend workshops focused on both policy issues and life skills.
The conference is backed by The Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, Inc., which offers students participating in Model United Nations (UN) at their respective schools opportunities at conferences to develop innovative and meaningful solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems.
Mididoddi, Vedaraj and Donthula participated in the RUMUN conference for Bordentown last year and helped the school earn its third straight Best Small School Delegation at the time.
“The skills I learned from Model UN have really shaped me and everyone else,” Vedaraj said. “It gives us the ability to speak up for ourselves, bring forth new ideas, work with other people and bring forward development.”
Mididoddi and Vedaraj partnered up and participated in the Economic and Financial Committee at the conference and represented the country of Belgium. The two seniors earned the top award for their work in debating and finding resolutions on the topics of Unilateral Economic Measures and Global Wealth Inequality.
Donthula and Paul placed first for Bordentown as partners in the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee. The two juniors represented Belgium as well and earned their honor for their work in addressing the issue of Human Trafficking and also the Rehabilitation of Incarcerated Individuals.
“For these guys to come out as the leaders of a group with terrific kids from amazing schools is a pretty great thing for a school like (Bordentown),” Tobias said. “Our guys are really good at making the solution known to everyone else and getting everyone working together.”
Paul, who is in his first year with the club, said he had a great experience participating in the conference.
“I learned a lot about the world around me and how different countries are working to accomplish the same goal,” he said about attending the conference. “It really enlightened me, and I really appreciated that. I loved meeting new people and making new friends.”
Dziegielewski participated in the Historic United Kingdom Cabinet at the conference that attacked the subject of The Irish Troubles Uprising. The sophomore wrote the best paper on the subject in the group.
Gokavarapu was a participant in the Executive Council of Hong Kong that discussed the Civil Unrest in Hong Kong that occurred in 2019.
The Bordentown Model UN Club attends over a handful of conferences around the state each year.
According to Tobias, there are currently over 40 students involved in the Bordentown Model UN club. Tobias says he will take around 20-30 students from the club to one-day conferences.
The next conference Bordentown will partake in is on Dec. 3 at Gloucester Township campus of the Camden County Technical School.
“I wish every school had (a Model United Nations club). We are keeping it going really strong here (in Bordentown),” Tobias said.