Two weeks ago, Erin Chizmar was preparing for the Model United Nations conference, thinking about what her team needed to do to win for a second consecutive year.
The week after the conference, held Feb. 7-9 at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, she was sitting in the Model UN leader’s room at Grovetown High School with two medals hanging from her neck and a smile on her face.
Not only did Grovetown’s Model UN team win the overall first-place award, Most Outstanding School, it won four of six Most Outstanding Delegate awards, 11 Distinguished Delegate awards and nine honorable mentions.
“The goal this year was for at least one person to win a Most Outstanding award, but the fact that they won four out of six Most Outstanding awards this year was amazing,” Grovetown High Model UN sponsor Tracy Roden said. “I was in shock because, even though I knew it was possible, I couldn’t believe it really happened.”
Model UN is an academic club that aims to educate participants about current events on a global scale. The conferences simulate a meeting of the UN, with students playing the roles of different countries’ delegations to the UN.
Erin Chizmar, the president of the Grovetown team, was extremely satisfied with the team’s performance, believing it was more than just good speaking skills that won over the judges.
“This year, I felt like the Model UN Team was more like a family,” said the 18-year-old senior. “Throughout the whole conference, there was no slack and everybody worked hard. If we had not won at the conference, I don’t know what I would have done, because we couldn’t have worked harder.”
Brooke Culpepper, the Most Outstanding Delegate of the Human Rights Council, was thrilled about winning again, believing that Model UN builds confidence.
“This year, I was the leader of the Human Rights Council because I was the only one of my council who had any experience in Model UN,” said Culpepper, 17. “This position not only gave me more confidence but taught me responsibility. I had to guide my council, making sure that they were fully prepared for the conference. Though it was difficult at times, it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”
Though they are all still overjoyed about winning, Emily Chizmar, Erin’s twin and the vice president of the Model UN team, stressed that the team members worked harder than anyone could imagine.
“The people who don’t participate in Model UN don’t understand how much work must be put in,” Emily Chizmar said. “It takes more than just your time.
‘‘You have to know what you are talking about and you have to do your research in order to do well at the conference.”
The students say they deserved the win not because they are better than everyone else but because they lost sleep, and even skipped lunch at the conference.
Winning this year, in their eyes, was a reward for all their hard work.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Roden said.