• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS sends delegation of 29 students to KUNA

WCHS STUDENTS, from left, Sarah Potts, Kate Moran, Aaron Collings, Abigail Mortell, Logan Craig, Emmanuel Hernandez, Abigail Cheek, Sophie Edelen, Chandler McFarland and Rachael Vascassenno participated in the Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) in Louisville. Not pictured, but also participating in KUNA, were Ryan Alvey, Eva Bijl, Tony Brock, Maggie Carney, Laura Crutchfield, Ginny Gregory, Ginny Hallman, Catie Heerman, Ulises Hernandez, Micah Lynn, Allison Miller, Caroline Miller, Saige Miracle, Claire Pinkston, Adie Preston, Olivia Raybourne, Parker Raybourne and Kristen Taylor. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Being on the International Court of Justice at the Kentucky United Nations Assembly in Louisville was an opportunity for Woodford County High School junior Abigail Mortell to represent a country in a legal proceeding. She and Abigail Cheek won an Outstanding Advisory Team Award for their skills in a courtroom.

“I really want to be a lawyer,” said Abigail Mortell. “And I just love the program itself, just practicing law and debating when I get there.”

She was chosen to be International Court of Justice president for next year’s Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) conference and has learned to appreciate the significance of being prepared to argue a case.

“When I make a speech (in the International Court),” said Abigail, “there’s a justice on the other side of the bench who will hold me accountable for everything that I say.”

Her judicial partner, Abigail Cheek, was chosen as an Outstanding Ambassador and an International Court of Justice Outstanding Advocate. WCHS sent a delegation of 29 students, representing the countries of Australia and Brazil, to the Kentucky United Nations Assembly in Louisville from March 11 to 13.

In addition to receiving a Delegation of Excellence Award, students from WCHS saw their resolution for Australia (on banning sunscreens that bleach coral reefs) passed by the UN Summit.

WCHS senior Parker Raybourne served as a presiding officer at KUNA after winning election as president of the UN General Assembly in 2017. He also helped organized the 2018 KUNA conference, which simulates international diplomacy. WCHS senior Sophie Edelen, who has now participated in five KUNA and seven Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA) conferences, appreciates being involved in these programs, sponsored by the YMCA of Kentucky. “…I love being able to be a part of the democratic process,” she said, “(something) you really don’t get to see during the school day…”

Sophie agreed that the experience she gains at Y conferences, such as being a Security Council representative for Brazil at this year’s KUNA conference, gives her opportunities to voice her opinions and debate issues of significance.

As a summit chairperson, senior Rachael Vascassenno had opportunities to voice her opinions and also listen to other views on world issues. And Allison Miller was named an Outstanding Speaker at KUNA.

“You’re debating against students who feel as passionately about this as these students, and that’s what’s exciting for them,” said social studies teacher Sioux Finney, advisor of the Y-Club at WCHS. “I’m glad they get this experience,” she added, “because it’s invaluable. It’s absolutely invaluable.”

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