Each year, Highlands offers electives to our Middle School students. Junior United Nations Assembly of Alabama (JUNA) led by Ms. Shara Kernan is one such opportunity, which challenges students to explore global issues and humanitarian efforts around the world.
The organization acts as a student-run model of the UN assembly, with over 1,000 students from across Alabama participating. Each assembly chooses a country that is plagued by chronic and devastating problems (such as poverty, malnutrition, sanitation, polluted water, lack of education, gender inequities, etc.) to represent.
This year, our Highlands team has chosen to represent Haiti. Over the past few weeks, the students have dedicated time to researching the complex problems of this troubled country. After much investigation, they decided that malnutrition is one of the most devastating problems currently facing Haiti.
After compiling their information on malnutrition and exploring potential solutions, the kids are now ready to write their resolution, which they will submit to JUNA in November then present at the assembly in January. As Ms. Kernan remarks, “Writing a resolution is unlike any type of writing the kids have ever been exposed to, but they learn fast. On several occasions, our teams have been awarded ‘Best Resolution,’ which is a high honor!” After completing the resolution, our "Defenders" will prepare speeches to present at the assembly; our "Security Council Representative" will prepare for his/her debate on an international issue; our "Greeters" will prepare an introduction about Haiti in English, French, and sign language which they will present to the general assembly; and our "Art Director" will create a display board and pamphlets about Haiti's problems. Finally, all our team members will read the other teams' resolutions and come up with questions that reflect critical thinking and analysis.
These tasks - researching, writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, public speaking, and collaborating - enable our students to apply all of the skills they have honed here at Highlands. We will continue to share our JUNA team’s progress with you as they prepare for the assembly this winter.
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