Leading Lady

Beches is the only freshman attending NAIMUN

For the students committed to the Model United Nations club (MUN), the upcoming weeks are some of the most exciting and important weeks of the year. From Feb. 13 to Feb. 16, students will participate in the North American Invitational Model United Nations conference (NAIMUN), an advanced conference held at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. For freshman Katarina Beches, these weeks are even more special.

“I’m excited but I’m also nervous because I am the only freshman there. I sort of feel like I want to prove that I’m going on this trip for a reason, but I also want to have fun and get a lot out of the conference, even if I am a little nervous,” Beches said.

With just three conferences and two awards under her belt, Beches has “definitely” earned her spot on the team, according to MUN supervisor Nicholas Sklarenko.

“These east coast conferences are typically reserved for our more experienced delegates, but Katarina is really amazing. She’s very conscientious in her research, is naturally well-spoken, and she is taking a lot of initiative and really embracing the experience,” Sklarenko said.

Beches is not the first freshman to be invited to an east coast conference, nor was she the only one invited this year. Laxmi Upadhyaya and Jonathan Yepez were also asked to go to the conference, but they will not attend. 

“At first, I thought the two other freshmen were going so I felt better that I wasn’t the only one, but once I realized ‘Woah, I’m the only freshman going’ I was really proud that I made the cut,” Beches said.

Beches’s partner Juninho Paniouchkine was involved in the process of giving the freshmen the opportunity to go to Georgetown. In hopes of being her partner, Paniouchkine asked Sklarenko if Beches could go to Georgetown.

“Juninho and I went to Mr. Sklarenko and he asked if I could be his partner on the trip and I was sitting there thinking ‘Please, please, please.’ It took a couple weeks to make the decision, and I was obviously nervous during that time, but I was okay with it if I didn’t go,” Beches said.

To prepare for NAIMUN, the delegates must research their committee topics and prepare to “think on the spot and form their own ideas, not just the information that they research.”

In the last east coast conference, RUHS performed “really well” and received the Best Delegate award, “the best team award you can get at the New York conference,” according to Sklarenko. He hopes to have success this year as well, but more importantly, he hopes that the students will learn more about the committee they were in and form new connections.

“This conference is so great because the committees are really interesting and it gives the opportunity for the students to meet people from around the world,” Sklarenko said. “Because ultimately, it’s not about winning awards, it’s about the experiences.”