BORDENTOWN – For the fourth school year in a row, Bordentown Regional High School’s Model United Nations Club received high praise while participating in the Rutgers University Model United Nations Conference.

At the four-day conference held Nov. 17-20 in New Brunswick, which was attended by 650 children from 35 different high schools in three states, Bordentown received the coveted award of Best Small School Delegation.

This year, the high school sent six students to the conference: seniors Sushet Mididodi and Aaron Vedaraj; Juniors Jeremiah Paul and Ajay Dontula; and sophomores Patrick Dzegelewski and Hasini Gokavarapu.

“As a small school, I think being able to compete in these (conferences) is a great opportunity for us and it helps put Bordentown on the map,” Mididodi said. “I am very proud to study here at school. Being able to represent the school and ourselves at these events is such a great opportunity for us to get.”

All six students were mentored by club advisor John Tobias, who is a high school social studies teacher and has helped the program win Best Small School Delegation at Rutgers University’s Model United Nations (RUMUN) conference for the past four years.

Despite the club’s success over the years, Tobias says the best part is that his students get the chance to develop skills they can use in college and the workplace.

“We do not emphasize that we receive awards. I just want my students to be part of the conversation,” Tobias said. “It’s really all about speaking skills, debating skills and thinking on your feet.”

The RUMUN conference offers students the opportunity to discuss topics based on the committee they are participating in, as well as the opportunity to participate in workshops that focus on both policy issues and life skills.

The conference is supported by the Institute of Domestic and International Affairs, Inc., which offers students participating in the Model United Nations (UN) at their respective schools opportunities at the conferences to develop innovative and meaningful solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues.

Mididodi, Vedaraj and Dontula all participated in the RUMUN conference for Bordentown last year and helped the school earn its third consecutive delegation from the top small schools at the time.

“The skills I got from Model UN really shaped me and everyone else,” Vedarai said. “It gives us the opportunity to speak for ourselves, bring new ideas, work with other people and contribute to development.”

Mididodi and Vedaraj teamed up and participated in the Economic and Financial Committee at the conference and represented the country of Belgium. Two seniors received the top award for their work in debating and finding solutions on the topics of unilateral economic measures and global wealth inequality.

Dontula and Paul took first place in Bardentown as partners in the Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs. The two juniors also represented Belgium and earned their award for their work to tackle human trafficking and the rehabilitation of those in prison.

“For these guys to come out as leaders of a group with great kids from great schools is really good for a school like (Bordentown),” Tobias said. “Our guys are very good at making the solution known to everyone else and getting everyone to work together.”

Paul, who is in his first year at the club, said he had a great experience at the conference.

“I learned a lot about the world around me and how different countries work to achieve the same goal,” he said about participating in the conference. “It really enlightened me and I really appreciated it. I enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends.”

Dzegalevsky participated in the Historical Cabinet of Great Britain in a conference at which the topic of the Irish Rebellion was discussed. The sophomore wrote the best paper on the subject in the group.

Gokavarapu was a member of the Hong Kong Executive Council which discussed the 2019 civil unrest in Hong Kong.

The Bardentown Model UN Club attends more than a few conferences throughout the state each year.

According to Tobias, the Bordentown Model UN club currently has more than 40 students. Tobias says he will take about 20-30 students from the club to one-day conferences.

The next conference Bordentown will participate in is Dec. 3 at Camden County Technical School’s Gloucester campus.

“I wish every school had (a Model UN club). We hold it very tight here (in Bordentown),” Tobias said.

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