Model United Nations (MUN) is a program in which thousands of schools across the nation participate. This program is an academic simulation of the United Nations and students take on the roles of delegates and diplomats who attempt to solve complex longstanding international issues. Elmont Memorial High School has long been a model of excellence and has received a plethora of awards at international conferences and plaudits for the program’s outstanding work and reputation.
Public School program like MUN has had a profound impact on the lives of many students and one such student is a recent graduate of Elmont Memorial High School class of 2012.
Justin Andrews has been selected as a member of the All-American Model United Nations Team and is attending the WEMUN expo in China from July 21st to July 30th. He is not only representing Elmont Memorial High School and the Sewanhaka High School District, Justin Andrews is representing the Elmont community at large. Justin has been in MUN for 6 years and his reason for joining was his longstanding interest in international affairs; He credits the program for helping develop leadership skills and improving upon his speaking ability, a skill that will undoubtedly come in handy as he looks towards his bright new future. Justin specifically highlights his mother for helping him remain dedicated and keeping him committed to excellence as well as providing him assistance when he had to prepare for upcoming conferences. For his upcoming trip, Justin is excited to interact with people from different cultures and submerges himself in a new environment.
There are many individuals who Justin pointed out had an influence on him. Justin acknowledges his church community and thanks them for keeping him grounded. Also, he points out Mr. David Cochrane who works at the real United Nations and has helped Justin on many occasions. Mr. Mel Kohn and Mrs. Nkenge Gilliam, two Elmont Memorial High School educators who were also his MUN advisors also had a heavy influence on him. Justin states that it was Mr. Kohn’s class in the 7th and 8th grade that peaked his interest in MUN. He points out Mrs. Gilliam gave him a sense of reality and led him to have higher standards. Mrs. Gilliam when asked about Justin stated:
“Justin was always deeply committed to the Elmont MUN program. Competing on the All American MUN team is a well-deserved honor. We are all very proud of Justin.”
Justin Andrew’s experiences have set him on the right path for success. He will be attending Oberlin College where he hopes to receive a bachelor's degree, attend Medical school and eventually become a neurosurgeon.
Justin is just one of the countless number of students who have been impacted by extra-curricular activities and he underscores why these programs are absolutely essential in regards to the education of today’s youth. However, because of the current economic malaise, many such vital extra-curricular activities are in danger of getting cut as public schools struggle to pass budgets and maintain their educational viability. It is essential that the community continue to support extra –curricular activities as part of its dedication to education.