Eleven 12th graders who have been involved with the MUN program at JFKS for many years (some of them for almost 6 years!) just returned from a trip to New York.
This trip was special for many reasons. Some of our students had never been to the US; the majority had not seen or experienced life, school or college in the US and due to Covid, none of them had been on any class trips since the 8th grade ski trip nor on any language exchanges.
We were able to stay with host families from our partner school Xaverian High School who graciously opened up their homes to our students. Even though some of them stayed in far-away locations, this only resulted in funny stories and great experiences like retrieving a forgotten passport from a home in Breezy Point or being late due to a missed ferry from Staten Island or realizing that a certain subway does not run from Brooklyn to Manhattan on a Saturday morning. The students experienced family life, enjoyed dinners, conversations and attended basketball games, dance competitions, plays and more. One evening, Xaverian hosted our group and all host families for a pizza and sliders dinner at the school which definitely fostered the idea of community even for Xaverian since they also experienced little to no parent involvement in recent years due to Covid.
For fun, we followed the World Baseball Classics before, during and after our trip in the form of a group “Tipp-Spiel” which exposed the students to America’s favorite pastime even though we could not attend a game in person.
Our group activities in New York included a private tour at the Museum of the Chinese in America, visits to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, the African Burial Ground, the Jewish Heritage museum and sightseeing throughout Manhattan, Central Park, the 9/11 Memorial site, and more. Students prepared short presentations to tell us about skyscrapers, bridges, Wall Street, the five boroughs, politics in NY, and various other locations we were passing. We participated in a tour of Xaverian High School and St. Francis College, and some of the students even got to see Columbia University when we met up with a former JFKS student who studies there. We also enjoyed a dinner in Chinatown with our surprise guest Mr. Kriegel, a former ES teacher who taught several of the students in grades 5/6.
A meeting at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations gave us insight into their role and current as well as future goals. We are thankful for the time with Hr. Brombach who answered our many questions and even provided us with copies of the UN Charter and bags to take home. The tour of the UN Headquarters, which we attended afterwards, allowed us to ask more questions (like who decides on the seating order in the SC?) and we were able to walk into rooms used by the groups which the MUN program simulates, such as the Security Council, ECOSOC, and the General Assembly.
We finished our trip by attending the Altitude MUN conference in the heart of Manhattan, representing Spain, Norway, and the Ukraine in four different committees. While we do not give out awards for participation at BERMUN for various reasons, our students were more than excited and proud to receive individual awards for their stellar performance throughout the conference. In the end, the John F. Kennedy School received the award for Best Delegation!
Special thanks again to Xaverian HS for hosting us and to the HS Staff and Administration for supporting such a large number of Seniors to attend during their final weeks of school. We can attest that some of them even explored NY public libraries and worked on their 5. PK presentations during the little free time they had!
-Mr. Robertson, BERMUN Director