By Michelle Durham
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Model United Nations National Debate, held at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C., draws scores of schools from all over the country, but only one team can be named the National Champion. That team is Father Judge High School in Northeast Philadelphia…
The teens participated in a mock session of the U.N. on the topic of elementary education and came up with solutions as to how poorer countries could provide the same level of instruction as richer nations.
“It’s really a simulation of the United Nations,” said moderator Jeff Hylan. “They use diplomacy as a means of getting countries together. So what these guys do they participate in a simulation done. It’s amazing how they can get the job done, but the world’s diplomats find a hard time getting anything settled.”
It took months of preparation, and while he is not knocking the schools athletic teams, Sophomore Ryan Green said his fellow students appreciate the accomplishment.
“They’re happy that we brought national recognition to the school for such a good thing,” Green said. “It feels pretty good. Gloating rights are always a nice thing, I guess.”
The teens found out navigating the political process to reach the goal can be tricky. If anyone knows about obstacles, it’s Senior John Paul Kuhar, who battled Lyme disease to return to school.
“Now I’m back,” Kuhar said. “And it feels really good to be number one.”
And Kuhar had a message for kids who might be struggling.
“Get back on your horse and keep going,” he said. “Just keep working and it will all work out in the end.”
Team Member Sean Burns is a Junior at Father Judge and said it felt good to win.
“It feels good to get national recognition,” said Burns. “I was ready and I knew the topic thoroughly.”
Junior Dan Fritz received an individual award for his performance.
“My topic was the situation in Congo,” he said. “It’s really nice to go into a room where everybody represents different countries, but everybody still at the same time speaks the same language.”
The team was coached by Father John Hurley who traveled from Maryland to get this team ready to participate in the debate. There are 20 members of this team and all are winners in every respect.