The cream always comes to the top. Once again St Joseph’s debaters did just that by coming to the top in public speaking and debating in the National Model UN (Nat MUN) Debates that took place in University College Cork the past weekend – 7th, 8th and 9th of of November. This national competition took place under the auspices of the UCC International Relations Society who issued the invitation via our Students Council.
Accompanied by Mr T. Quinlan (Student Council Teacher Mentor) and Mr Ian Hennessy (Business Studies and Religion Teacher) the team consisted of Alex Fay, Manolito Aviles and Conor O’Reilly (Fifth Years) and Jamie Gannon, Danny de Vaal and Paul Carr from Transition Year. Our team took the following prizes: (i) 3 parchments/certificates of honorable mentions – Alex Fay, Paul Carr and Jamie Gannon and (ii) three subsidiary prizes to Manolito Aviles (most likely to become Secretary General), Jamie Gannon (best dressed delegate) and to Alex Fay (best diplomat).
The Nat MUN debates took place over three days – from Friday right through to Sunday evening in six committees on which each school had a delegate. Our school team represented the delegation from South Sudan and we had to speak for that country on the various committees. This meant that our six committed speakers had to research the history and constitution of this young state and speak about its position on various issues of international importance on the respective committees. Each committee had to come up with and pass an eventual proposal. This whole process involved many skills: (i) research, (ii) public speaking and debating, (iii) canvassing for support, (iv) persuasion. (v) diplomacy and (vi) initiative among others.
Overall there were some 175 delegates from various schools represented, with one school attending with six delegations. St Joseph’s won the most awards of any single delegation school. This was truly an achievement for a small North Inner City Dublin school. It is also heartening to recount that a good number of the adults present had heard of St. Joseph’s given our long tradition of service to the education of young men over some 125 illustrious years. The Conference was opened by the former Tánaiste Mr Eamon Gilmore TD and closed by the retired Brigadier General Gerald Aherne. Both their speeches were well crafted and delivered with clarity of diction though both speakers had vastly differing styles. Both got resounding ovations for their contributions. It was interesting to note that both these speakers knew each other well as they had been in the same class in University College Galway in the early 1970s.
I would like to thank Mr Declan Flattery for his superb advice to and training of our four maiden speakers and Mr Ian Hennessy for his support and companionship over the weekend. Finally I would like to thank the six boys for representing themselves, their parents and the school with such commitment, ability, style and courtesy. It was a pleasure to accompany them on such a successful outing. Scoil Iosaif abú!
(Photos will be uploaded later as there is a glitch in the uploading procedures at the moment!)