CHAZY - It's been a long time coming, but students from Chazy Central Rural School are once again representing their school through the North Country Model United Nations program.
Eight students of the program, under the direction of social studies teacher Steve Cross, recently returned from Harvard University in Boston, Mass., where they participated in a four-day international Model U.N. conference. While other area schools such as Northeastern Clinton Central, Peru Central and Beekmantown Central schools were in attendance, Chazy Central hadn't participated in the annual conference since the early 1990s, said Cross.
"I felt it was very important to bring back," said Cross. "It's really valuable for Chazy students who really don't experience much cultural diversity on a regular basis."
Cross began examining reestablishing the program five years ago following conversations with Beekmantown Central School social studies teacher Scott Tuller, who also oversees a Model U.N. program. Not long after, Cross established the club at Chazy and has been working to prepare students for competition ever since.
The students' performance at the competition in Boston was one of which Cross said he is extremely proud. There, students represented the Republic of Palau in southeast Asia, discussing the nation's stance on issues such as small arms trades, disease, polygamy and overpopulation.
In preparation for their debate, the students were able to speak with representatives of the Palau government via a conference call with the actual United Nations in New York City.
"They had their main delegates talking to Chazy students about Palau's point of view on all the major issues," said Cross.
Emily LaPierre, a Chazy sophomore in the Model U.N. program, said she was very appreciative of the opportunity to speak directly with people of the nation they were representing.
"We talked to them for about an hour just about our topics and what their views are, so that was pretty cool," she said.