Why This California High School Gives $17,000 in College Scholarships to Model UN Student Leaders

by Ryan on May 3, 2016

Santa Margarita recognizes student leadership in Model UN

Santa Margarita recognizes student leadership in Model UN

Southern California’s Santa Margarita Catholic High School (SM) has one of the best Model UN programs in the world. Just look at the facts:

  • They have 300+ students taking Model UN as an honors history class from 9th-12th grade that’s paired with the International Baccalaureate program;
  • Since 2000 they’ve won 7,000+ awards and 83 delegation awards (yes they’ve kept track!), including 500+ awards and 57 Best Delegates this year;
  • They attend national-level MUN conferences like Yale MUN and Georgetown NAIMUN, but they also attend major MUN conferences in other countries, including Royal Russell MUN in England, Beijing MUN, and Panama MUN — that means they have to learn both American and THIMUN MUN Procedures;
  • Their MUN conference is hosted on campus and it’s the world’s largest 1-day MUN conference with 1,200+ delegates attending every September, which serves as a great introduction to MUN for local schools, it gives their students a great leadership opportunity, and it’s a huge fundraiser for the program;
  • And throughout their history they’ve represented every country in the UN!

But it isn’t the number delegates or awards that make it a great program.

SM has a great Model UN program because it’s built a strong community of teachers and parents who support student leadership — it transforms shy freshmen and sophomores into confident student leaders — it changes students’ lives, leaving an impact that lasts long after they graduate. SM’s program brings out the best that Model UN can offer to students.

Tonight at their annual awards banquet, they recognized their Model UN senior leaders by giving $17,000 in college scholarships. SM seniors are going on to attend USC, UCLA, Villanova, Georgia Tech, and other top schools. One senior received $5,000 to attend Wellseley College. SM gives scholarships every year and they’ve even established an endowment to ensure they can give scholarships to future generations of Model UN student leaders.

Santa Margarita’s lead MUN advisor Mr. John Remmell had this to say about all of his seniors:

“These seniors have exemplified leadership, dedication, and skill. I have enjoyed working with these students and watching them grow and mature. The MUN program is more than a class or an activity — In many ways, these stuents are my family. I hope the lessons they have learned will help them to be happy and successful in whatever they choose to do in life. They will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

– Santa Margarita MUN Advisor John Remmell

SM gave its seniors a standing ovation

SM gave its seniors a standing ovation

In addition to scholarships, SM presented awards to student leaders in each grade level, from seniors and juniors to sophomores and freshmen. “The best thing is for the younger kids to see what the older kids are doing — to see what you can accomplish by doing the Model UN program,” says Mr. Remmell.

Among those recognized include alumni of the Model United Nations Institute Skylar Yang and Darna Tajonera, and one of my earliest Model UN tutoring students Spencer Firestone.


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Congratulations to Mr. Remmell and all of SMCHS MUN’s students, teachers, and parents on a great year!

Parents — want to learn how Model UN prepares students for college and their careers? Check out our Parent Guide

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