Mandel JDS Competes in Model U.N.
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Mandel JDS Students Compete in Model U.N. Convention in New York City
When one thinks of international politics, eleven, twelve, and thirteen year old students are not typically the first image conjured in the brain. Maybe now that image will change as Mandel JDS students were given the opportunity of a lifetime, trekking to New York City to compete in the “Global Classrooms International Middle School Model UN Conference.”
The conference included more than 1800 middle schoolers, including representatives from over 25 countries and 23 states. The event took place over Friday, March 31st and Saturday, April 1st, at the Grand Hyatt of NYC, a stone’s throw away from Grand Central Station. Closing ceremonies took place at the UN Headquarters in Assembly Hall.
Each school was assigned either one or two countries - Mandel JDS represented both Guyana and the Bahamas. Students were then divided into different committees reflecting the actual makeup of the “real” United Nations. For example, Mandel JDS students were split between committees of: UNESCO, DISEC (Disarmament and International security); FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization); ILO (International Labor Organization); and GA3 SOCHUM (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee).
“I am so incredibly proud of these children,” beamed Ben Stallsmith, Mandel JDS Model UN Advisor. “They weren’t simply excited to be there just to be there - they pushed themselves academically. They engaged in a process that was new to all of us, and I can honestly say that because of their engagement and the extent to which they took their work seriously, they are walking away with stronger skills in public speaking, thinking on the spot, and, above all, working and negotiating with people from all walks of life in productive, thoughtful, and cooperative ways.”
Students prepared for months before the conference by studying their country and developing ideas for how to improve and implement solutions to various issues. The end goal was to develop written policy within their committees (with upwards of 150 total student delegates) that could be voted on at the end of the conference.
Mandel JDS students who participated:
6th grade: Shira Rosenberg, Sydney Burkons, Ethan Dobres, Jack Gordon, Jacob Papcum, Noah Epstein, Rachel Cooper, Ryan Goldfeder, and Nadiv Ballin.
7th grade: Andy Solganik, Ryan Rovner, and Tyler Goetz.
The new Model U.N. program at Mandel is just one of many new enrichment programs offered at the Mandel JDS Middle School. Students are now afforded the opportunity to join Math Counts (a math enrichment club), Power of the Pen (the statewide writing competition), Robotics, or Model UN. These programs are not the only recent changes to the Middle School, as a brand new Spanish class offered to seventh and eighth grade has begun to flourish, as well.
About Mandel Jewish Day School
Founded in 1969, Mandel JDS is Cleveland’s first Jewish day school accredited for educational excellence by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). The school also exceeds Ohio education standards for all core curricular subjects. Originally The Agnon School, in August 2015 the name changed to Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, in appreciation of a $17,050,000 grant. While the name is new, blending superior general academics and Jewish studies remains central to the school’s mission, as does teaching to a broad spectrum of learners. Open to the entire Jewish community, Mandel JDS enrolls more than 350 students, 18 months – 8th grade, from diverse Jewish backgrounds.