Public Speaking and Problem Solving: Students Participate in Local Model United Nations Conference

In April, six Mount Madonna School (MMS) upper school students attended a Model United Nations (MUN) conference hosted by Pacific Collegiate School (PCS) in Santa Cruz.

The MMS students prepared for the conference by meeting once a week with history teacher and MUN coordinator, Tiffany Wayne, to research their assigned country positions on specific committees, such as the United Nations Security Council, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), and the OAS (Organization of American States). They then attended the PCS conference to debate global issues with other high schoolers.

“Participation in this smaller, local conference was a great opportunity for our newest MUN participants to practice their research, writing, and public speaking skills,” said Wayne. “All MMS high school students are invited to participate in a larger, national MUN conference at Stanford University each November.”

The participating MMS delegates to this recent conference were Callum Todd-Morris, sixth grade, Ami Bharghavan, Gus Bracher, Kira Kaplan, Nadia Rassech and Sam Caudill, ninth grade.

“I attended the PCS MUN conference as a delegate from Mexico in the UNESCO committee approaching the topics of drug trafficking and anti-Semitism throughout Europe and the Middle East,” shared ninth grader Kira Kaplan. “As someone who doesn’t read the news as much as I should, I found MUN an excellent opportunity to not only learn about the world’s problems, but come up with solutions as well. I was shocked to see the level of destruction these two issues have caused, but pleased to learn of all the ways Mexico, and other countries are working to combat it.

“I had gone into the conference with low expectations, expecting to sit in the back row and never speak,” she continued. “Instead I found that with the small amount of delegates present, I was forced to talk and share my ideas. I am happy to report that I was fully involved in this conference, even drafting and passing a resolution paper. Not only did I get to share my ideas and come up with a solution for these issues that are plaguing the world, but I made new friends doing it!”

“I was also on the UNESCO committee representing Mexico,” said classmate Nadia Rassech. “It was interesting to participate in the discussions without personal input, as I was defending my country’s stance on the topic and not my own. By the end of this two-day MUN conference I was better informed on two major problems of the world. I communicated with other delegates to come up with a resolution that could potentially solve these real-world problems. Overall, it was an engaging and exciting experience that was a step towards helping me improve my problem-solving skills and public-speaking abilities.”


Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.