FHS Model U.N. Club Looks For Continued Success In 2014-15


Karley Sirota, FHS Class of 2014, won a number of awards during her time on the high school’s Model U.N. club.
Photo: Lynn Sirota.

It’s not just Warrior athletes who go home with trophies.

Members of Franklin High School’s varied academic competition teams did well during the 2013-2014 school year, mostly without the publicity and accolades afforded champions of sport.

One such organization is the Model United Nations club. High school teacher Louis Guglielmo is preparing to start his 20th year as the club’s advisor, and he said he’s upbeat at the prospects for this year.

“I’m very excited,” he said of the upcoming season.

“We won a lot of awards last year,” said Guglielmo, who teaches psychology, sociology, and modern government and law.

The club, which boasted more than 100 members last year, competes in five multi-day conferences throughout the year in several states, including one it hosts.

The conferences are set up to mimic what happens at the United Nations in New York, with students representing different countries assigned to committees that are charged to solve a particular problem.

Because most of the conferences are hosted by universities, competitors are judged by college students who have an interest in Model U.N.

The students know about a month in advance what countries they ail represent, Guglielmo said. That’s important, he said, because they will be expected to adhere to that country’s stated policy regarding the particular topic being discussed.

“They can’t change the country’s policy based on their own beliefs,” he said.

Sometimes the students are assigned countries, other times Guglielmo requests them, he said.

“Sometimes my students will get mad at me because I will deliberately pick Togo, or something else that is really hard for them,” he said. “It’s easy to be Spain or England, it’s harder to be the Federated States of Micronesia.”

“I want them to rise to the challenge,” he said.

And they usually do, he said.

Guglielmo said many Model U.N. members who compete all four years of their high school career take the experience they developed into college and beyond.

Karley Sirota, Class of 2014, is one of those students who has leveraged what she’s learned as a Model U.N. member into what she believes will be her college major.

Sirota is attending American University’ School of International Service in Washington. D.C., where she plans on majoring in International Relations.

“Model U.N. has made me the woman I am today,” Sirota wrote in an email. “It has influenced my career path and given me a place where I can excel with the support of my classmates and wonderful advisor, Mr. Louis Guglielmo.”

Sirota won the club’s Daniel Juva Scholarship award for an essay she wrote on what Model U.N. has meant to her. She also took home a first place award from last year’s Philadelphia Model U.N. conference.

“I am honored to have won many competitive awards along with the Daniel Juva Scholarship award,” Sirota wrote. “It means so much to me as I’ve learned more about Daniel and how very similar we are. Model U.N. has positioned me perfectly for the next step in my education.”

This year’s members have been preparing all summer, Guglielmo said.

The new board, which was elected in April, put together the group’s summer reading and research materials, he said.

“The summer work will be collected and graded by students in early meetings in September, and, based on how they did, that will determine preferences for partners and preferences for conferences, and whether or not they get to travel with us,” he said. “The students know they wat to go on those trips.”

“Model U.N. is the only club that I know of that gives homework,” Guglielmo said.

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