On January 25 and 26, over 300 students from across Alabama met at Birmingham Southern College for the 27th Junior United Nations Assembly of Alabama
(JUNA). JUNA is a student-run model United Nations Assembly for Alabama students in grades six, seven, and eight. Since 1991, JUNA has increased awareness of worldwide issues, demonstrated how the United Nations works and emphasized the importance of diplomacy and problem solving among nations, peoples, and cultures.
In 2018, Highlands’s students had the honor to proudly represent the nations of India and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our Congolese delegates’ resolution tackled the pressing problem of child labor in unregulated cobalt mines. The Indian resolution confronted the critical problem of sanitation facing their country.
Our student delegates spent several months researching these complex issues and drafting their resolutions. The resolutions require a depth of research and sustainability. After the resolutions were submitted, students then began the arduous task of researching the other 47 resolutions and preparing detailed questions. Additionally, student “defenders” wrote speeches and prepared to face an intensive round of questioning. Defenders must have a great understanding of their proposed resolution in order to deftly answer even the most complex and obscure questions.
The two-day event tests the research, writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills of our students as well as exposing them to an exceptional public speaking opportunity. Bo Garrett, our Middle School Chair, and Shara Kernan, our Learning Specialist, work with Highlands’s students from August to late January to ensure that students are prepared to participate in this complex and high-pressure event.
Congratulations and thanks to all of our delegates for their hard work and for representing Highlands well. Highlands’s India delegation was represented by Olivia Honeycutt, Chloe Williams, Nora Barton, Gibson Goodrich, Carlton Wallwork, Rosa Sabel, and Andrew Glassford. The Congo delegation was represented by Whitney Byington, Finn Pak, Mary Candler Schantz, Caroline Reddington, Jaison Perkins, and Nour Shoreibah.
This year, both of the teams passed in committee and in General Assembly. Our Indian delegation was awarded JUNA’s Outstanding Native Dress and our Congo delegation received one of the Outstanding Nation awards. Additionally, Rosa Sabel was honored as one of JUNA’s Outstanding Girl Delegates and Andrew Glassford received one of JUNA’s Outstanding Boy Delegate awards.
Special thanks to all of the parents who helped with the delegates’ traditional clothing. Michelle Perkins and Kathy Byington designed and created traditional clothing and headdresses for the Congolese delegation. Margi Patel, Harini Ganga, and Nicole Williams contributed traditional clothing and jewelry for the Indian delegates. Thanks to these parents, the Highlands’s delegates beamed in their stunning native clothing!