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Model UN achieves unbelievable successes in recent conferences

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The Model UN meets every Wednesday on Zoom while frequently communicating on other platforms as well. (Photo by @gonzagamun Instagram)
Some of the many gavels and awards received by Coach Cardozo and the Gonzaga Model UN team. (Photo by Carl Cardozo)

At one of the most recent events for Gonzaga’s Model UN (a club team that competes for the school in intense Model United Nations conferences), the team achieved some outstanding, record-breaking results. However, they weren’t competing in any regular conference; this was the UNC (University of North Carolina) Invitational Model UN. As one of the team’s most important events this year, it was a win for the ages and success that came at no small cost.

Leading up to the invitational, members of the team spent a whole month doing research and learning how to write resolutions for this particular event.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the team was poised to have our best year ever,” Mr. Carl Cardozo, head coach and classics teacher said.

Some new challenges for the team have included not being able to meet or attend conferences in person. Mr. Cardozo said he had the fear that the team might “just die out” during the pandemic. It is clear, however, that quite the opposite has occurred, and Mr. Cardozo and the newly appointed coach, Mrs. Pam Valeiras, librarian, have done an excellent job of keeping the team together and engaged.

The schedule for Model UN consists of meetings every Wednesday leading up to planned events, in which the team comes together on Zoom to converse and create their game plans. Members of the club also communicate frequently through apps such as Discord in order to ensure that the senior participants are able to help the younger students or any newcomers who are just starting to learn the ropes and become accustomed. According to Mr. Cardozo, team support is what enabled a freshman, Joe Campione, to win an award for his work at the Invitational. This was a major feat considering how early on this was into his career. Campione won one of the four Best Delegate Gavels awarded to Gonzaga participants. It is almost unheard of for freshmen to win such an award at these conferences, and Campione left the judges and other participants dumbfounded.

Alongside the large achievement for Campione, the team attained the most gavels ever won at a single event in school history, which also led to the group being awarded the Outstanding Delegation Award. Mr. Cardozo pointed out that each event is “really a team effort.”

The Outstanding Large Delegation Award received for their success as a whole at the UNC Invitational. (Photo by @gonzagamun Instagram)

“If one or two of the best guys do really well it’s great, but if everyone on the team does pretty well, that’s actually better,” Mr. Cardozo said.

Looking forward, the Model UN team has many things to prepare for and always looks forward to welcoming new members. The club has a diverse group of students, with a mix of excellent scholars and athletes. According to Mr. Cardozo, all it takes is the charisma to be willing to talk and learn from other people, and the effort to put into your research and role on the team.

Mr. Cardozo says that Model UN is “so ready for next year” and really excited about being able to travel to big conferences again following the pandemic. Upcoming conferences include those in New York, Philadelphia and maybe even some down South. The team most recently competed in the George Washington University Model UN conference and was able to keep their stride with more fantastic results and hard-earned awards. Mr. Cardozo believes Gonzaga’s Model UN will be the first team at Gonzaga to win a world championship when they go to compete at the Model UN World Championships in New York next year.

In addition to gaining Mrs. Valeiras as a coach, the club is also thrilled to have a new Social Studies staff member, Mrs. Emily Kokol-Rivera, joining in the near future, too.

The Gonzaga Model UN Team. (Photo by @gonzagamun Instagram)

Until then, Mr. Cardozo says his favorite part of teaching and mentoring is “getting people as energized and excited as I am,” and that’s exactly how he intends to complete his mission with the team and in the classroom until this dark time passes us.

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