Shelby County Middle School Students Compete at JUNA

Turkey Juna Team Photo

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 

Canada JUNA team photoCalera 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.

Ireland JUNA team photoStudents 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

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

Spain JUNA team PhotoEmerging Green Technology and Businesses. Although their resolution did not pass out of the Environment Committee, they were a spirited bunch who could be heard screaming “Si” and “Aqui” during the General Assembly’s roll call of nations. They were dressed in matador costumes and as flamenco dancers and awarded for the inspired costume as Honorable Mention for Most Outstanding Native Dress.
France JUNA Team photoThe seventh and eighth-grade delegation, sponsored by Charlsie Wigley, represented France. Dressed in costumes inspired by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Emma Shaw, Alyssa Abbott and Davis O’Connell presented a resolution to provide funding for education training and agricultural materials at a model communal refugee camp on the French border. They were voted to pass out of their Refugee and International Rights committee and, after presenting in front of the General Assembly, had their resolution adopted by a vote of 28-19.
For their efforts, they were named Honorable Mention for Best Prepared Nation. Additionally,  Thomas Brakefield was a speaker for the European Bloc during the Security Council meeting and was named Honorable Mention for Best Boy Delegate.
 JUNA Delegates from Spain were: Kynnedi Mitchell, Brayden Butler, Sandra Gail Arrington, Raymond Bridgeman, Anna Reed, Grady Watkins, Jillian Webster, and Carter Abrams.
JUNA Delegates from France were: Alyssa Abbott, Emma Shaw, Keeghan Messer, Madi Osborne, Will Riley, and Thomas Brakefield, Davis O’Connell and Aragon Perez.
Montevallo Middle 

Turkey Juna Team PhotoMontevallo 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

Columbiana Middle School had two teams at JUNA this year, one representing Nepal and one representing Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia JUNA team photoNepal’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

Oak Mountian Middle 
United Kingdom JUNA team photoNew Zeland JUNA team photoOak Mountain Middle School also had two teams to compete at JUNA.  One team represented the country of New Zealand and the other team represented the United Kingdom.
The New Zealand team’s resolution asked for money from the UN to create gardens in schools in one of the poorest districts in the country.  The team’s resolution successfully passed out of committee.
The United Kingdom team’s resolution asked for money to convert London’s iconic red double-decker buses to an electric fuel source to improve the air quality in the UK.  The United Kingdom won an Honorable Mention for Best Prepared Nation.
New Zealand delegates were Fuller, Elizabeth Jones, Natasha Kloss, Aaron Pendry, Jasmine Varikuti, Stephen Woods, and Khaled Zuaiter.
United Kingdom team members Mea Allen, Caleb Flowers, Jacob Franklin, Morgan Hart, Gayatri Kavumkal, and Cade May.
Helena Middle School – updated

Haiti Juna Team PhotoHelena 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.

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