Hail Finland! Students do great at model UN competition

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Seniors particpating in the recent model United Nations Competition, from left, were Kennedy Payne, Ava Chisholm, Kayla McDowall, Danielle Schwalk, Gabrielle Merrell, Emma Erickson and Jordyn King.

Several students from Columbia Falls ranked in the top 1 percent at the 52nd annual Montana Model United Nations Conference at the University of Montana November 20-21.

The conference was attended by 400 students from 21 Montana and Idaho high schools. About 20 students from Columbia Falls went, while some schools had as many as 70.

The team of Danielle Schwalk, Jordyn King, Gabby Merrell and Ava Chisholm represented Finland in the event, where students play the role of delegates and then have the task of formulating and defending their country’s position in world events. As Finland, the girls espoused world peace while trying to keep neighboring Russia at bay.

“The students worked hard to understand and present their country’s positions. I am very impressed with their research and ability to think about world issues from a different perspective,” coach Tara Norick said.

The Columbia Falls’ students represented Finland, Indonesia, Bahamas, Angola, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Mozambique. Each student participated in one of four committees: General Assembly Plenary, General Assembly First Committee (security issues), General Assembly Second Committee (economic and financial), General Assembly Third Committee (social, cultural, and humanitarian) presenting the views of their country on important global issues.

“There is value in having high school students discuss difficult world issues from the different perspectives around the world. It gives them a sense of the complexity of our global society,” Norick said.

Individual, country, and school awards were announced during the closing ceremonies on Tuesday. Columbia Falls won Outstanding Large School against all large delegations from AA, A, BC, and private schools. Ava Chisholm was one of five high school seniors awarded scholarships to attend UM.

Three of the top 20 seniors in the state were from Columbia Falls High School, Chisholm, Schwalk, and King.

Individual results:

Distinguished Delegate (Top 10 percent)

Ava Chisholm

Cassidy Norick

Honorable Delegate (Top 20 percent)

Danielle Schwalk

Sam Lovering

Kayla McDowall

Kelsey Wright

Jordyn King

Distinguished Paper

(Top 10 percent)

Ella Hutcheson

Cassidy Norick

Jordyn King

Honorable Paper

(Top 20 percent)

Jesse Ruche

Kelsey Wright

Lara Erickson

Delaney Conger

Top 5 Senior

Ava Chisholm

Top 20 Senior

Jordyn King

Danielle Schwalk

Honorable Country (Top 20 percent)

Bahamas - Kelsey Wright, Delaney Conger, Shyane Williams, Noah Golan

Distinguished Country (Top 10 percent)

Indonesia - Sam Lovering, Cassidy Norick, Maggie McKeon, Ella Hutcheson

Outstanding Country

(Top 1 percent)

Finland - Danielle Schwalk, Jordyn King, Gabby Merrell, Ava Chisholm

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