While the Pope John Paul II (JPII) High School Model United Nations (UN) team waits to hear if the team has been selected for a fourth national ranking, the team's advisor, Paul Saboe, has just been announced as a Model UN Educator of the Year for 2016-2017 by BestDelegate.com, the premier Model UN website.
According to Best Delegate.com, "Leading a Model United Nations team can be taxing - educators put in extra hours in the evenings and on the weekends to help prepare their team for conferences. They coordinate logistics for traveling to and from conferences, and they keep their delegates safe while encouraging them to do their best in committees. MUN advisors and coaches are truly the unsung heroes of Model United Nations around the world."
In terms of Saboe's selection as a Model UN Educator of the Year, JPII history teacher Natalie Loedon noted, "Over the past 15 years, Paul has grown the program to be the largest extra-curricular program in the school, inspiring students to participate throughout their four years in high school. In addition, he began a Model UN conference at JPII, attracting many high schools from around the Middle Tennessee region. The organization, enthusiasm, and fun Paul incorporates into the program is inspiring. He does all of this while teaching students the importance of work ethic and accountability."
This past academic year, the JPII Model UN team involved 126 students or almost 23% of the student body and competed in four conferences, winning 66 awards. In September 2016, the team sponsored the 5th annual JPII Model UN Conference for 150 delegates and topped 500 awards as a team by winning 14 awards, including four gavels. In November, the team attended the 51st annual Arkansas Model UN Conference and set the record for the most awards won in the over 50- year history of the conference with 36 awards, including 11 gavels and the Best Delegation Plaque for the sixth time in the last eight years. In February 2017, the team participated in the 9th annual University of Alabama Model UN Conference and won the second most awards among competing schools with 9 awards. The team finished the competition season in March at the 10th annual Miami University of Ohio Model UN Conference and won 7 awards, the most awards among participating schools the team's first time competing in this conference.
"Paul Saboe has provided an excellent framework for us to succeed. The dedication he has put into both organizing our duties and ensuring that we have the tools to follow through is amazing to me," said senior Clare Steiner. "He has given us all the materials necessary for us to achieve greatness and personally, has helped shape me into the thinker, researcher, writer, and delegate I am today."
"My favorite thing Paul Saboe said to me was after Washington University MUN Conference in 2015, where I'd felt like I'd delivered perfectly in my committee only to fall short of an award. I remember him telling me that sometimes you put your best forward and you just don't win. I had heavily impacted my committee and that was the best I could do. After he had told me that I remembered trying less to win and more to impact my committee, and as a result I claimed Outstanding Delegate Awards at my next two conferences," said senior Oliver Antone.
Model UN has been an extremely popular activity at JPII with 736 participants during the school's fifteen-year history and with over 28% of JPII alumni having participated in the activity. Those students not only developed their research, writing, oratory, and conflict resolution skills, but they have also won 555 awards, earning more awards than any other school at 22 of the 53 conferences attended (and the second or third most awards at an additional 20 conferences). Having earned a National Ranking from BestDelegate.com in December 2012, May 2013, and May 2014, the team is hoping to have their accomplishments this year recognized by BestDelegate.com with a fourth National Ranking.
"Mr. Saboe is a great mentor to those who have no idea what Model UN is," commented junior Kathleen McLeod. "His passion and drive to build students up and give them guidance to achieve great success in the program radiate throughout the whole team and push us to work hard."
This academic year marked the first time that JPII offered a special Model UN Innov8 elective class for sophomores through seniors, enabling those students to experience Model UN simulations and to develop their writing and public speaking skills in the classroom. In the Innov8 class, students debated who deserves Kashmir, India or Pakistan, as judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), addressed the issue of the spread of ISIS as delegates in the Special Political (SPECPOL) Committee, and experienced a crisis as they worked to alleviate issues caused by the wildfires in the Gatlinburg area as members of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry's City Council.
"The Model UN Program this year was successful because of the team and coach's determination, preparation, and cooperation during committee and in the classroom for Innov8. The Innov8 class really helped the team to bond together and prepare for committee. Coach Saboe also helped to encourage me and my team throughout the year and provided a guiding hand whenever one of us was confused or nervous about an upcoming committee topic," said junior Drew Janes.
Fortunately, one does not have to be a student at JPII to benefit from learning from this Model UN Educator of the Year. This summer, Saboe is leading a Model UN and Debating Camp as part of Camp JPII, the week of June 26th, Monday to Friday, 9am to noon each day on the campus of JPII. This camp is open to all area students, ages 11-18, and will enable even more students in the community to experience the world of Model UN. Interested students can register at: http://jp2hs.org/campus-life/extra-curricular-programs/camp-jpii/. In addition, area high school and middle school students are welcome to participate in the sixth annual Pope John Paul II High School Model UN (JPIIMUN) Conference on Saturday, September 16th, 2017, 8:45am-3:00pm on the campus of JPII. Students and parents can obtain information for the 2017 JPIIMUN Conference by contacting Saboe at firstname.lastname@example.org.