Middle school students from several Shelby County schools recently participated and won awards in various categories at the Junior United Nations Assembly held at Birmingham-Southern College on January 25-26. JUNA teams research world problems and develop an action plan to improve one problem.
Calera Middle School
Calera Middle School students competed at JUNA for the time this year. Under the sponsorship of Melanie Thomas, students have been working since August to get ready for the competition. After extensive research, the seventh-grade team decided to represent Ireland, and the eighth-grade team decided to represent Canada.
Students researched important issues related to both countries in order to create resolutions to present in assigned committees. Team Ireland created a resolution designed to target the homeless and poverty rates while Team Canada created a resolution to protect Canada’s endangered wildlife.
After completing resolutions, students work to design costumes, learned native language in order to present greetings to the entire assembly and wrote speeches to defend their resolutions. Team Ireland won Honorable Mention for Outstanding Nation.
Chelsea Middle School was represented by the Spanish and French delegations at the 2018 JUNA conference. The sixth-grade delegation, sponsored by Michelle Caiola, represented Spain. They presented a resolution requesting the UN to provide a global conference in Spain to address and promote
Montevallo Middle School’s students Olivia Gilbert, Katie Ozley, Jacob Ozley, Luke Emiliano, Cara Nolen, Deizy Maza De La Cruz and Allison Tryon were the delegates from Turkey. The resolution “Violence against Women” passed the Committee meeting and General Assembly. The team won the third best Outstanding Presentation Award.
Olivia Gilbert won the Erin McPherson Award. The award is named in honor of former JUNA participate Erin McPherson who died in a boating accident as a teenager. The receiving student has to be nominated by the school sponsor and have letters of recommendation written by the sponsor and another teacher.
Columbiana Middle School had two teams at JUNA this year, one representing Nepal and one representing Saudi Arabia.
Nepal’s resolution was to end human trafficking in Nepal by adding more border control centers. Saudi Arabia’s resolution was to increase the amount of available drinking water by converting distillation to reverse osmosis plants to make their plants more energy efficient and provide purified water in Saudi Arabia.
Both nations’ resolutions passed in committee as well as in general assembly. Nepal’s resolution was one of the three outstanding resolution winners based on how well it’s written. Nepal also received one of the five mini-grants to a charity/organization that fit in the category of its resolution.
Sarah Elizabeth Shelton, a Nepal delegate, received one of the three outstanding girl delegate honorable mention awards. Saudi Arabia received one of the three best-prepared nation awards for being well prepared with research, questions, and ideas at JUNA.
Nepal Delegates were: Alex Cuellar, Alex Gillum, Abril Polo, Sarah Elizabeth Shelton, Becky Weaver, and Kaili Williams
Saudi Arabia Delegates: Patrick Decker, Maya Garrett, Khalia Lee, Katie McDonald, Josh Oliver, Leah Slaughter, and Tanner Stogner
Helena Middle School represented the delegation of Haiti. Students researched current issues in Haiti and developed a resolution to provide “Ready to Use Therapeutic Food” to children suffering from acute malnutrition via mobile weekend clinic sites. Ready to Use Therapeutic Food is a peanut-based product that is consumed daily that provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and essential fats that are proven to cure severe acute malnutrition in children ages 6 months – 5 years.
The delegation of Haiti presented their resolution in the Health Committee, where it was passed to the General Assembly. This resolution was also passed in the General Assembly. The Haitian delegation was awarded Honorable Mention for Best Presentation, which included a presentation of the defense speech, impromptu questioning from the delegations, and the summary-closing speech presentation. Haitian delegates greeted the United Nations in English, French, and American Sign Language while wearing the native attire of karabella style skirts and tops with turban headwraps and guayabera shirts with light-colored cotton pants.
Member of the Helena Middle School JUNA team are Olivia Martin, Sharon Zou, Aaron Surcouf, and Taryn Wilson.