April 09, 2021

AHA’s Dartmouth Delegation Earns Honors at Model UN Conference

The Holy Angels Model United Nations Team is rising to the top of the Ivy League competitions. In early April, 10 Holy Angels delegates participated in the virtual Dartmouth Model UN Conference, and four received top awards.

“Four out of our 10 delegates got awards or recognition, and one was first place in her committee, which is amazing,” AHA Model UN Moderator and social studies teacher Jennifer Cucchisi reported. “Approximately 40 other schools were in attendance.”

Best Delegate (first place) honors went to Caroline Dupas of Pearl River, New York. Dupas represented New Zealand on the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee. She received a gavel in recognition of her achievement.

Celine Hong of Englewood Cliffs earned Best Position Paper. She represented Bhutan on the Future Crisis Committee.

“This was Celine’s first conference and, in fact, her first year in Model UN, and she started mid-year,” Cucchisi noted.

Head Delegate Patricia “Patsy” Coleman of New City, New York, and delegate Elizabeth Kim of Old Tappan received Verbal Commendations. Coleman was recognized for her work representing New Zealand on the Disarmament and International Security Committee. Kim was honored for representing Singapore at the World Health Organization.

AHA’s Dartmouth delegation included Federica Zazzali of Saddle River, Mackenzie Wedeen of Englewood, Erin Pav of Westwood, Elise Tao of Upper Saddle River, Natalie Yoo of Englewood Cliffs, and Cecilia Yun of Closter.

Dupas said she joined Model UN at the recommendation of a former middle school teacher. This sophomore said she enjoyed interacting with peers from across the country at Dartmouth’s event, and described the conference as a valuable experience she would not forget.

“When the awards for my committee came out one by one, I was so nervous,” Dupas said. “Then I saw my name as Best Delegate and I was so shocked and happy.”

A good deal of hard work preceded her win. Some of the most critical preparation took place at the team’s weekly meetings, where members hold simulations to practice for competition.

“It definitely took a lot of preparation in order to succeed at this conference,” Dupas noted. “I debated two topics, human trafficking and intimate partner violence, and each topic required lots of research on my nation’s policies and room for improvement, a position paper, and a research packet.”

Once the conference begins, Dupas noted that delegates must remain engaged and participatory throughout many hours of debate.

Hong opted to join Model UN to further explore her interests in public speaking, government, and world affairs. Participation also allows her to build her creative, cooperative, and leadership skills.

This delegate said the Dartmouth conference was an incredible experience, where she formed friendships while she learned. She said the Future Crisis Committee members were respectful and cooperative as they worked to resolve challenges. Event administrators assisted the delegates and provided feedback to promote growth.

“When I first realized I had won honors, I was in disbelief. This was my first Model UN conference, and to win an award for such an important first experience definitely made it much more special. I felt accomplished, and I feel as though receiving the honor incentivizes me even more to continue pursuing this club,” Hong said. “I would say that I did put in a lot of effort to make sure I could do my best for the Model UN conference. There was a lot of research, writing, and creative thinking I had to do to prepare myself and make sure I fully understood the country I would be representing at my committee. I have to say that even the process of preparing was fun and exciting for me — really trying to get into character and analyze my position well was an interesting process that contributed significantly to my success.”

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from many diverse backgrounds.