Almost 300 junior high school students from 20 Northern Virginia parochial schools attempted to solve serious international problems Friday as they participated in the area's first model United Nations for students 12 to 14 years old.
The mock UN session was sponsored by the 30-member Foreign Affairs Club of Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria and chaired by ninth graders John Tim Hamer and John Sargent of Mount Vernon and Henry Valentino of Fairfax Station.
The UN delegates, from more than 40 parishes in the Arlington diocese, represented the views of 107 countries and six voting blocs in a simulated General Assembly session. They met in the high school gyn.
According to the club's faculty adviser, the Rev. John Hurley, model United Nations are fairly common for colleges and high schools. "But this is the first time it has been sponsored for students so young," he said.
Mr. Hurley said his own students at Bishop Ireton have participated in several such high school sessions. In March, members of the Foreign Affairs Club won awards as outstanding delegates in the National UN Security Council model held at Georgetown University. They represented the country of Benin (formerly Dahomey, a French possession in West Africa.)
Awards are given based on delegates' knowledge of the issues, knowledge of their country's position and their influence on the causes.
Outstanding delegation awards went to Queen of Apostles from Alexandria for representing Laos, the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands: to St. Micheal's School in Annandale for its Uganda delegation, and St. James School in Falls Church for the South African delegation.
Outstanding delegates awards went to Mary Beth Brobson of Queen of Apostles, Marie Balez of St. James, Pat Mooney of Queen of Apostles, Ed Richter of St. Micheal's, Anna Pola of Queen of Apostles, Monique Laventure of Queen of Apostles, Mike Garvey of Queen of Apostles, Elaine Wilson of Queen of Apostles, David Minor of St. Anthony's, Gola Bella of St. Mary's and Saline Miconi of Queen of Apostles.
All award winners were chosen by a committee of social studies teachers from Bishop Ireton headed by model judge Jerry Kosinski from the University of Pennsylvania.
On the agenda of the General Assembly Friday was the Israeli occupation of Arab territory and racial problems in South Africa. The agenda was the result of discussions with students scheduled to be delegates and teachers from the participating schools.
According to Mr. Hurley, the delegates were responsible for researching their assigned country. They did this by reading, visiting the embassies of assigned countries, writing to them for information on their positions and writing to the U.S. State Department, he explained.
Other members of the Foreign Affairs Club of Bishop Ireton who helped organize the session and kept it running smoothly were: Jeff Smith, press secretary; Tom Brobson, chairman of the blocs; Chris Gettings, head of security and pages; Martin Hudson, head of lunch committees; Jim Anklam and Mike Dittamo, head of transportation: Joe Yackow, head of seating; Phil Benidicto, rapporteur; Tom Hundley, secretay, and Jim Therry, awards chairman.