Clark has long been acclaimed for the success of its competitive academic teams, especially those revolving around its specialties: math, science, business, and finance. However, clubs like Model United Nations (MUN) are working to prove Clark students also excel in the humanities. Led by President Solomon Siu, MUN is back and busy preparing for another season of competition and hoping to continue a winning streak.
MUN at Clark has come a long way since it was first founded under advisor Mr. Rehfeldt. The club was comprised of only a few members that never even competed at MUN conferences with other schools. Today, the team boasts over twenty members and takes pride in its immense success at regional conferences.
“We can consistently come out on top of the [Las Vegas] circuit, even though we’re still a relatively young team,” says MUN club Vice President Brennan Ferrington. Despite being less experienced than most other teams in the Valley, Clark’s team has dominated competitions and proven itself to be a strong competitor during its two-year existence.
“I am super proud of the team,” says Solomon Siu. “It’s crazy that my team was able to win every single Best Delegation trophy in almost every single tournament last year.”
Unlike other competitive clubs at Clark like Science Olympiad and Science Bowl, MUN doesn’t hold annual tryouts. They are constantly recruiting anyone that has interests in international affairs, politics, or just wants to improve their speaking and debating skills. These are just some of the many characteristics that make MUN a unique activity that develops skills with a wide variety of future applications.
“Nowhere in Clark HS have I seen a club that so consistently follows international events,” says Siu, “Our members are constantly debating, speaking about issues in the South China Sea, Israel and Palestine, North Korea, and so much more.”
In preparation for competitions, the team holds weekly mock conferences in which members roleplay as “delegates”, representing countries of the international community. They are assigned to research these individual nations ahead of time in preparation for thorough and often impassioned debates.
“We have members during meetings who would be intensely researching their topics or passionately shouting out arguments during debates,” explains Siu. “Every time I enter the MUN room I always get something new, fun, exciting, and crazy. And I think that’s probably the best thing about our club.”
Currently, the Clark team is preparing for a UCLA-hosted conference, a popular competition for MUN teams nationwide. A select group of varsity delegates will be traveling to Los Angeles next month, marking Clark’s first out-of-state Model UN competition. The team will also be competing at conferences this year at UNLV and Spring Valley High School.
Despite the fierce competition they will face at UCLA, Ferrington has high hopes for Clark. “We’ve swept the local conferences,” he says. “I think we’re more than prepared to expand to compete on the national level.”
Many of the dreams the board members have shared for the team have already become a reality. “When I was running for VP for the first time, I said I wanted to build a ‘wall of plaques and awards’,” says Ferrington. “And that’s coming along really nicely because of the intrinsic talent of our team.”