CCRS competes against world's elite at Harvard

CHAZY - Out of nearly 4,000 students from around the world who attended Harvard Model United Nations 2010 last month, Chazy Central Rural School is proud to say they took home an award.

Senior Michael Santor, a member of Chazy's Model U.N. program, has been a part of the school's club since it began four years ago.

"Basically, we take the U.N. and we shrink it down," Santor explained of Model U.N. "A lot of teenage minds and young people with fresh ideas, we kind of just sit together and we just work out the world's problems in three days."

Santor, who represented a nongovernmental organization for the Ford Foundation, took home an honorable mention award.

Club advisor Steven Cross, a social studies teacher at CCRS, said Santor winning the award was "huge."

"It's a 'Best of' award in my mind, because most North Country schools don't ever win an award," Cross explained. "In four years, we've gone from no club to one of the best clubs ... and Michael is the epitome of that recognition."

CCRS had to apply to attend Harvard Model U.N. While there, they competed against students from 25 states and 27 countries, according to Santor.

"It takes all year for these kids to do the research for Harvard," Cross said. "They do a summer project for me which they all wrote 10-15 page papers, plus resolutions to even quality to go to Harvard."

Both Cross and Santor feel the school's Model U.N. program now competes with the school's passion for soccer.

"Being Chazy, we're all about soccer," Santor said. "This kind of diversifies what we do at Chazy and this shows that we can compete at an international level and be the best out of the state or the country or internationally."

As the Chazy Model U.N. program has become a year-long undertaking, club president and CCRS senior Lindsay LaValley is working to get enough money for students to attend the Harvard Model U.N. in the future.

"Since the beginning of the year, I've been writing fundraising letters to different organizations and government officials to try to garner money to go to Harvard," LaValley explained. "Since it's such an awesome experience and awesome academic experience."

The club now plans to attend North Country Model U.N. at Northeastern Clinton Central School March 11-13.

"We're taking 58 kids to North Country ... so it's kind of turned into this fervor," said Cross. "It's all due to Lindsay and Michael and kids like these guys that make it look cool."

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