J.P. Stevens MUN Reflects on its Journey to Harvard MUN 2012: A Message to the Underdogs

by Emily on February 9, 2012

This post was provided by  Parth Shingala, JPSMUN Under Secretary-General Class of ’13. J.P. Stevens MUN won Best Large Delegation at the 2012 Harvard MUN conference. 

The JPSMUN Team at HMUN

Coming from the suburbs of Edison, NJ, JP Stevens High School does not have a typical Model UN program by any means. The club meets once a week after school for forty five minutes and is all inclusive. Membership is not denied to any student, and no one needs to “try out” to gain a spot. JPSMUN is proud of the fact that it is a public school; in fact, it loves being considered the underdog. One may view the JPSMUN delegation as a couple of ragtag students with faux hawks who typically pay close attention to gaining support of the back row and calling themselves the “voice of the developing nations”.  The aforementioned claim is exactly who we are, and we take pride in that matter.

Last year, if you were to say that JPSMUN were to capture Best Large Delegation at HMUN, we’d call that hogwash. At HMUN 2011, JPSMUN had a sixth place finish, with only a few awards. A year later, the team went through a rebuilding phase, a change of leadership, and a new focus on training. A year later, attempting to defy the means, we entered in with 26 delegates, ten more compared to the previous year. Out of these 26 delegates, only 10 delegates had debated at the highly competitive HMUN. For the rest of the 16 delegates, 8 of them had just started pursuing Model UN this year. Out of all nine partnerships, only two partnerships had experience with each other in prior conferences. These brave 26 delegates represented the upper echelon of JP Stevens High School, these 26 delegates that were guided by a vision– a purpose, the purpose to grow. No matter what the outcome, delegates were aware of the fact that the conference was ultimately a learning experience in the big picture; the skills acquired from this conference are definitely helpful when it comes to other conferences. Meeting once a week at an Executive Board member’s house, we all gathered and helped each other out in our own time. Staying after school at the library, all of us were there for each other. Every single delegate from JPSMUN was there to mature as a delegate, even if it was their third HMUN or their third national conference. This spirit was embodied

The JPSMUN Specialized Agency Winners

throughout the weekend. The team never backed down, they pulled all nighters prior to the conference hoping to understand Russian foreign policy. The Executive Board made it clear that HMUN was apart of a bigger process- the entire Model UN experience that’s extremely worthwhile, an experience that cements a plethora of memories down the line. On that note, 26 delegates from a public school in Central New Jersey attempted to turn some heads at what arguably may be the most competitive and prestigious conference in the nation. The task was not easy, it had never been done– but the new look of JP Stevens Model UN, under the brilliant leadership of advisers Mr. Anthony White and Dr. Geis truly performed. This year marked the first time that JPSMUN ever performed in the specialized agencies at HMUN, the result– An Outstanding delegation in the flagship UNSC, and three best delegate awards in respective crisis committees. Walking into uncharted territory, JPSMUN delegates pulled out all the stops, utilizing everything they learned from meetings in an Eboard member’s basement.

The end result was clearly captivating, JPSMUN walked out with the Best Large Delegation award at HMUN 2012, with an 85% award ratio throughout the delegation. This serves as a message to every single Public School Model UN program in the nation— determination and work ethic greatly factor you’re your vision. JPSMUN’s victory at HMUN is clearly the apex of the clubs achievements—however, this victory marks the start, the beginning of what JPSMUN can achieve.

The JPSMUN Chant:

JPSMUN! What is your tuition?

Zero! Zero! Zero!

  • Anonymous

    I really fail to see how JP Stevens, a school that has won many delegation awards at various conferences in the past, considers itself an underdog. JP Stevens is not some helpless public school from Central Jersey that came from nothing to win best delegation at HMUN. They attend many conferences each year and have a long-established club. Most of competitive teams on the circuit are public schools; therefore, simply being a public school doesn’t make them an underdog. This article is nothing more than a way to self-promote their team. Although it appears to be a great story about how anyone can succeed with motivation, the facade isn’t fooling anybody. Yes, JP Stevens’ success is commendable -there is no doubt that they are a competitive team on the circuit. However, there are a lot of teams with the same determination and commitment them. This desperate attempt to brag is really distasteful.

    • Anonymous

      Going back to what ambassador1 said, the premier aspects in this article can be derived from the fact that JP Stevens has gotten a lot better compared to last year. I have competed with many delegates from their school, and the quality has indeed improved from Georgetown to Harvard. This is not an attempt to brag, more so a proud moment which every club has. We should reward the success of clubs, not view posts to be a “self-promotion”. Bestdelegate has been commendable- they have been extremely indispensable in assisting Model United Nations programs. Thank you for posting this article Bestdelegate. It shows how to attain success despite many variables. Other school’s stories have been previously documented on here. We are approaching this article too critically– Model United Nations is all about improving. I believe the only thing that is distasteful are you hateful words.

      Thank You,
      John, FL

    • Anonymous

      I’d have to disagree with the previous comment about the false label put on John P Steven’s High School as an “underdog”. Yes, the JP Steven’s team has had continual success through out the past years, but they have not been the top tier of Best High School MUN Teams unless you consider 16th a top team. A self-promotion? I think any team would write a very “positive” article about their team after winning probably the most prestigious and largest high school model united nations conference.
      Also the term “Underdog”, probably is meant to reflect the fact the JP Stevens is a public school, unlike many of the top MUN teams around the nation. Many schools that succeed at national conferences have MUN has a class or an elective, in which they meet everyday and have expert guidance on pertinent topics. JP Stevens, to my knowledge, has a 45 minute meeting held every Wednesday. My familiarity with the NJ School District policies, leads me to the conclusion that their club was probably in danger of getting cut after recent budget constraints and is probably still underfunded. So the word “underdog” probably roots from their lack of resources relative to other top teams.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan

        The article doesn’t mention this but if I remember correctly after speaking with their advisors and student leaders back in October, almost all the extracurricular activities at the school were cut in funding and only about 4 clubs were saved from the budget cuts. JP Stevens’ Model UN program was one of them. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why they think of themselves as underdogs.

    • Anonymous

      Perhaps brian2091 is incapable of being proud of another school’s success. Maybe you need to work harder to get at that level. Always work hard.

  • Eric Wessan

    I read the first half of this article but had to stop. Can someone please do some editing and revising to make sure the article flows well? It read similarly to an article from my middle school news rag

  • Anonymous

    As an advisor for a new Model UN team, I am a bit disappointed at the emphasis on awards. Is that really what Model UN is all about for schools?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan

      Every Model UN conference has a different emphasis. Some focus on the educational experience while others can be considered more of an academic competition. Most participants consider the Harvard conference to be in the latter category and therefore there will be more focus on competition and awards. THIMUN conferences, on the other hand, offer no awards at all and it’s all about the educational experience. Every conference falls somewhere in between in the spectrum. It is our hope that Model UN helps empower future leaders. However, this learning process is done differently by everybody. For a new school, we don’t recommend emphasizing the competitive side of Model UN but rather focusing on the educational experience, so attending a conference like Harvard could be counterproductive.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000357229596 Matt Sena

      Awards should ignite a competitive spark that stimulates the will to research, practice, and prepare at the top of one’s game. And they do. It all depends on the advisor.

  • Anonymous

    I myself see no immediate problem with this post besides a typo or two. Coming from a public school in Florida, I am aware of the “public school feeling” and this was well written. Thank you best delegate for posting this! Having competed with JP at NAIMUN last year, and at HMUN this year, they have improved significantly. They do not win anything at NAIMUN, and went onto be successful. Why the harsh words?

  • Anonymous

    I’d have to disagree with the previous comment about the false label put on John P Steven’s High School as an “underdog”. Yes, the JP Steven’s team has had continual success through out the past years, but they have not been the top tier of Best High School MUN Teams unless you consider 16th a top team. A self-promotion? I think any team would write a very “positive” article about their team after winning probably the most prestigious and largest high school model united nations conference.

  • Arjun Arora

    I just want to say great job JPSMUN. You guys are really competitive in committee. You guys clearly work hard and my school, a public school from New York, really enjoys the competition every time we face you at a conference. Your club really deserved it at HMUN. Hope to see you soon at another conference.

    -Arjun

  • Anonymous

    Also the term “Underdog”, probably is meant to reflect the fact the JP Stevens is a public school, unlike many of the top MUN teams around the nation. Many schools that succeed at national conferences have MUN has a class or an elective, in which they meet everyday and have expert guidance on pertinent topics. JP Stevens, to my knowledge, has a 45 minute meeting held every Wednesday. My familiarity with the NJ School District policies, leads me to the conclusion that their club was probably in danger of getting cut after recent budget constraints and is probably still underfunded. So the word “underdog” probably roots from their lack of resources relative to other top teams.

  • Anonymous

    “The JPSMUN Chant:

    JPSMUN! What is your tuition?

    Zero! Zero! Zero!”

    This is the kind of rhetoric that inspires class warfare. We should not condescend or judge an individual based on their financial capacity to attend a private school. I’m shocked that a website that’s interested in spreading MUN for all students, would post an article that villainizes a good portion of MUN participants.

    • Anonymous

      Model UN is open to a wide spectrum of schools. This is not inspiring class warfare in any means. May I remind you that this is an educational experience, no certain group is being villanized or singled out here.I myself attend a public school in Connecticut and do not find any major fallacies in this.

      Thank You,
      David F.
      Connecticut

      • Anonymous

        No…No… Pretty sure it is inspiring class warfare. JPSMUN created an environment where its now Public Schools Vs. Private Schools on the MUN circuit… You will also find that with a lot of private schools, they get less money than Public schools because public school districts recognize the success of their MUN teams and want to aid them further.

        I’m not saying a school shouldn’t be proud of its accomplishments, but if JPSMUN wins a Best Large Delegation award, it shouldn’t be considered better than when, for instance Dalton (a private school) won Best Large at HMUN last year.

        By creating a difference in MUN programs based on socioeconomics, you really alter the value awards won by a delegate at a conference. By saying its much easier for private schools to have these programs and to win awards at these large conferences, you devalue the effort put into the conference by the students, and the fact of the matter is simple: that isn’t fair. For the delegate who goes to a private school that spends hours upon hours preparing for his committee, working with delegates inside and out of committee, and then is told that his award was solely based on his going to a private school, that isn’t fair. Delegates can’t buy awards at these conferences. When a school wins a delegation award, it is solely a reflection of the delegates’ work through the conference, and not a reflection on whether or not the students pay to go to that school.

        Model UN is about bridging gaps, solving differences, and ultimately consensus building. I enjoyed reading this article up until the end, and I was almost repulsed by the ending and the JPSMUN chant.

        • Neil Bhavsar

          I’m sorry ChristmasJones, but Ii’m bewildered by your apparent irritation toward the JPSMUN chant since it seems to be coming from a biased point of view. In no way is JPSMUN’s chant attempting to undermine the effort that private schools put into Model UN; rather it’s just trying to centralize around the fact that JPSMUN has faced obstacles in the past not only through other national Model UN clubs, but also through local high school conflicts.

          Its evident that meeting only once a week for 45 minutes only allows for gradual progress versus having Model UN as an elective; also to address your concern regarding funding, the NJ school district recently went through massive budget cuts which included the removal of multiple clubs from public high schools , with their MUN club just barely making the cut (as stated before) it shouldn’t be assumed that their funding is greater than a private school, or any school for that matter. It’s also not fair to judge an entire Model UN team by misinterpreting its chant which epitomizes not their excessive hubris over triumphing over private schools, but their ability to succeed as “underdogs” while facing many of the debilitating obstacles of a public high school, which I’m sure that some private schools must face as well.

          Furthermore, to say that one is “almost repulse” does not take away from the excessively negative connotation that is placed on an article which celebrates a schools ability to jump from a rank of 16, to winning probably one of the most difficult conferences in the nation. I understand that what I have wrote may seem a bit biased, however I just wish state that its also not fair to automatically assume the worst in others.

          • Anonymous

            What JPSMUN did is extremely commendable and I really think that even had last years Best and Outstanding Delegations been there, you guys still would have done really well. JPSMUN always has been a great school and as a matter of fact, living in New Jersey, I have experienced the budget cuts that affect school programs. Furthermore, most schools in the East Coast don’t have MUN as an elective, but rather as student organizations. It is also true that a lot of these schools believe that MUN is a detriment to quotidian school life.

            What I’m trying to say here is that there are many more eloquent ways to express success than what has been done. The fact of the matter is that you write what you think, and when you put in that chant at the end there was obviously a reason for it.

            Maybe your motto should be somewhat along the lines of the US Postal Service’s motto. They too have experienced budget cuts, but they still work and still do a good job at it. (You know it…”neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds.” That motto truly embodies determination)

            I really don’t see how your chant is representative of your struggles, because it really only separates JPSMUN from a private school program. Furthermore, why end with the chant? Do you really chant that before every committee?

            On a side note. Congratulations. Winning at Harvard is no small feat and you really should be proud. Nothing can take away from the great feat accomplished. Winning a delegation award proves that the hard work put in has been recognized and isn’t ultimately moot.

            Lastly, I feel that the JPSMUN story is really a testament to any budding Model UN team out there, whether it be a public or private school, or even a group of friends between schools. With hard work and perseverance, anything can be achieved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=665340321 Chelsea Dias

    JPSMUN might have a reputation for being a school that has won in past years, but that has come with a lot of work and dedication of numerous members over the course of many years. The fact that JPSMUN was one of the few clubs to last after budget cuts in Edison is simply a testament to the type of students that this organization attracts. In terms of in school preparation and funding JPSMUN is an underdog, however it is impressive to see the delegates of this team overcome these obstacles to obtain such an honor. They deserve to enjoy this and contrary to prior opinions it really is an article about building a team, dedication, friendship and the power of persistence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1273182999 Ankur Choksi

    I think the guys in red at the bottom are looking fresh. #toomuchswag

  • Anonymous

    Congrats to JP especially on the improvement over 2011. Any school thats works hard and is in correct policy, speakes well and shows ability in negotiation and diplomacy deserves any and all recognition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hai-Bai/100003308858197 Hai Bai

    (please excuse my English I am from Pakistan)

    The Lyceum School from Pakistan would like to commend the JPSMUN on their achievements at Harvard Model United Nations conference. As a school, we came all the way from Pakistan and expected very tough competition. We were pleasantly surprised when we encountered the “JPSMUNers” who worked with such quality and class. I could see that all of my friends were working with them and we were all very happy that they won the Best Large Delegation Award. It was very funny when they taught us their “YOLO” jokes, especially the delegate who was in his 2nd year with the beard. Congrats JPSMUN!

  • Anonymous

    Although they seem to have improved greatly, the competition was also less stiff than last year, with Horace Mann and Dalton, the two delegation award winners, going to NAIMUN instead. I would be curious to know if JPSMUN will be at NAIMUN, because then we would really see how large their transformation really is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570138035 Nishant Gidvani

      Unfortunately we will not be there.

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