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Watkins students learn to become 'future leaders'

    WATKINS GLEN—A group of 27 Watkins Glen students are examining global issues through a model United Nations.
    This is the fifth year Watkins has participated in the program which ends with a model U.N. conference at Cornell University, March 29 to April 1.  Teacher Marie Fitzsimmons explained there are two classes: one for new students and an advanced class for students who have already participated in the model U.N.
    Students take leadership roles in the classes.  Robert Rondinaro and Marguerite Kellogg serve as the co-Security Generals for the advanced class.  Chris Gill is the Security General for the intermediate class.  Fitzsimmons said that in class, the students discuss various current global events, like Syria recently.  She added that the students have to take different view points about events and issues.
    Rondinaro said one of the first assignments was to write a paper on the crisis in Syria, with different students viewing the situation as different countries.  Fitzsimmons said the classes improve the students’ debate skills.
    “You can’t make a sound argument until you know how your opponent feels,” said Rondinaro.
    He added he really likes the class and that this is the third year he has participated.  Rondinaro said we live in a global world, where many things happening in other countries affect us.
    “We’re training ourselves to be future leaders,” he said.
    The class culminates in the four-day event at Cornell University.  Rondinaro explained students come from all over the U.S. and even Canada, South Africa, China, and elsewhere around the globe.  He added over 100 schools attended last year.
    He said students participate in different committees, interacting with other students about past and present global issues.  Rondinaro said there are three different levels of committees: large, specialized, and crisis.  He explained he participated on two crisis committees and last year’s focused on World War II.  This year’s crisis committees will focus on the U.N. Security Council, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Federal Reserve Board of Directors, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First 100 Days, Cambodian Civil War, and a Non-Governmental Organizations forum.


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