The first-hand information helped reinforce the studying the students had been doing around the clock, said Cross.
"They really took it all in," said Cross. "It was unbelievable to see these young people really believe in solving global issues. They put 110 percent into this, working day and night, even going to Plattsburgh State's library on Sundays. They worked all year and it shows."
Sophie Foreman, also a sophomore in the program, said the trip was "a really great experience," preparing her for future public speaking and introducing her to worlds beyond the borders of the North Country.
"We met a lot of people from different countries and other parts of the U.S. and we learned about their culture," said Sophie Foreman, also a sophomore in the program. "And, we had to speak in front of a large amount of people and I think that really helped our public speaking skills. We had to work with all these other people we didn't know to create a real solution."
"We were in debate more hours than we were able to sleep," laughed Corine Giroux, a senior who participated in the conference. "But, it was really cool because we were able to meet kids from all over the world. There were kids from China, kids from Turkey. Just to be able to debate with them was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the trip."
While they didn't win any awards, the students did take home a valuable experience that made them a little more worldly, said Cross. Having served for several years as a Navy Seabee that has traveled across the globe, Cross said he believes the Model U.N. program is something the students will remember and will draw from for years to come.
"[This program] is important for the kids as they head to college so when they get there they already know how to debate, write and speak in front of a large population," he said. "It was the apex of my academic career to bring those kids there because they actually believe in trying to solve the world's problems."