By Jonah Rebert ’20
At the end of January, the Model United Nations class attended the 56th annual THIMUN conference. The Hague International Model United Nations enjoys a special status as a simulation accredited by the U.N. as a non-governmental organization.
Students prepared throughout the year for this event, which hosts over 3,000 students from around the world, all striving to further and strengthen democracy.
This year’s class proudly represented Romania, a country many students knew very little about before enrolling in MUN. However, as we completed every new research assignment and mock debate, each delegate felt increasingly prepared to defend Romania’s positions and interests in an international forum.
Thus began our trip.
We landed in Amsterdam and headed south to the capital of international diplomacy: The Hague. But before getting down to diplomacy business, we took in the sites, most notably the Mauritshuis. This art museum houses Johannes Vermeer’s “The Girl with the Pearl Earring,” among other famous works.
Heading back to Amsterdam for a deeper exploration of Dutch culture, we visited the Anne Frank House as well as the Rjiksmuseum (the national museum of The Netherlands) and Van Gogh Museum. While these were each impressive in their own ways, the favorite landmark for many was an Amsterdam house church, known as “Our Lord in the Attic.”
During the 17th century, Holland restricted religious freedom, forcing Catholics to practice their faith within their homes. Believers began to organize over time and constructed “house churches,” with all the traditional features of a Catholic church in a much smaller, clandestine space. In addition to being an architectural triumph, “Our Lord in the Attic” is a testimony to the power of religion and the will of the faithful.
After a day trip to Brussels, we headed back to The Hague for the start of the conference. That first day, students felt their anticipation, built up from every policy paper and news quiz taken in preparation for the trip, transform into excitement. Topics ranged from the funding of terrorism to Facebook cybersecurity, depending on committee.
While each student had to have a command of a different topic, the class was united behind Romanian policy and status. For example, the former Eastern Bloc country has struggled to develop its infrastructure due to a lack of funds and technological backwardness, a fact that affected many students’ actions and strategies during the conference as they lobbied other delegations and debated resolutions.
An accident of birth led to truly special experience for the class. We visited the International Court of Justice, which adjudicates matters of international law, and spoke with a a sitting judge on the court, Patrick Lipton Robinson. Judge Robinson is the great-uncle of MUN student Maya Robinson ’20, and this connection gave us a deeper understanding of the United Nations and an unforgettable experience.
Despite the seriousness of the whole affair, we managed to share many lighthearted moments with classmates and students from all over the world. From Hasan Maqbool ’20 dancing with his new Saudi Arabian friends, to Matt Armitage’s ’20 daily battle with his necktie each morning, the conference was as entertaining as it was enlightening.
The trip served, and I think we will all remember it this way, as a global educational experience that broadened our understanding of the world in which we live, as well as providing a unique opportunity to deepen friendships and connections among classmates — by travelling 3,000 miles from home.
The sixth grade FLL team isn’t hard to spot, even without the traffic-cone hats. They’ve got the skills, machines, and trophies that mark them as part of Country Day’s fledgling — and thriving — Robotics program.
Assistant Head of School Todd Trout took the stage to congratulate the sixth grade FLL (First LEGO League) squad for their second place finish at the Pennsylvania State Championships last month. The result earned the team a berth in the Razorback Invitational May 16-18 in Fayetteville, Ark., where they will compete against 80 other teams from around the world.
“Within a short time we’ve established a tradition of excellence, and that’s something to truly be proud of,” Trout said, and the assembled Middle Schoolers roared their approval.
The Upper Schoolers compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a competition in which teams build and program a robot to complete specific tasks on a common course. Every team starts with the same parts and has to write the robot’s code in the same programming language, but other than that, each group designs a unique robot they hope will be the most capable on the course.
This year, the Upper School FTC team has earned a first place Programming Award, a first place Outreach Award, two third place Champions Awards, as well as a spot in the Pennsylvania State Championships in March.
Stay tuned for excellence updates.
Led by the most dominant player ever to don a Cougar uniform, the Country Day girls won their first Lancaster-Lebanon League section title, earned a District 3 playoff berth, and made the L-L Final 4 in a season of historic triumph.
Senior Ashanti Duncan became Country Day’s all-time leading scorer in their semifinal loss to Lancaster Catholic Tuesday night, topping the record previously help by Sydney Fasulo ’05.
Boasting four double-digit-average scorers in the starting five of Duncan, Genesis Meadows, Kaela Stankiewicz, Annabelle Copeland, and Anna Sotirescu, the team also has two 1,000-point career scorers in Duncan and Copeland.
The Cougars started out winning 18 straight, before a Copeland injury sidelined her for two games. Country Day finished the regular season 18-2 overall and 9-1 in the L-L League, Section 5. Their season continues at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 at home when they host the winner of the Veritas-Lititz Christian game in the PIAA District 3 quarterfinals.
“This season has been amazing,” said Head Coach Hilary Waltman. “I think a lot of the reason we’ve been so successful comes down to the leadership of our seniors. There’s a maturity there, and a trust between the players and coaches that lifts the whole team up.”
While the girls balanced each regular season loss with nine wins, Waltman’s message to the team has stayed the same: “As long as you put in a great effort, you can be proud, win or lose.”
Carrington Bernabei ’24 won the Middle School Spelling Bee by correctly spelling “guanine” for the win over second place finisher Alyssa Lee ’25, who stumbled over “hokum.” Bee impresario Phil Lisi presented Carrington with the traditional big stuffed bee, “Bee-a-trice,” while Alyssa inaugurated a new trophy tradition by taking home the Spelling Bee Fox.
Carrington and Alyssa advance to the semifinals of the 62th LNP Spelling Bee, working toward a spot in the 92th Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.
In other bee news, sixth grader Sophia Babar took top prize in the Middle School Geography Bee. She advances to the next round of the National Geographic Geography Bee, where she and fellow winners across the country will take a written state-level test before advancing to the May finals in Washington, D.C.