Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Celina Rivernider '19 said there are students who go to Harvard Model United Nations just to win an award.
Celina didn't want to be one of "those" kids, but she won an award anyway.
Celina received a Delegate Honorable Mention Award for her representation of a NATO delegate from Italy at the 65th annual Harvard Model UN, which was held in Boston in January.
"I was very surprised because I don't go there to win the awards," Celina said. "I really like the experience. It's very competitive. There are kids who go there just for the awards, and you know who they are because they come in and just try to take over everything. I don't want to be that kid.
"I didn't think I was doing that well. I came back after the first day and was talking to (faculty advisors) Mr. (Gary) Cook and Ms. (Sommer) Mahoney '11 and I was so frustrated. There were those kids who came to committee and they don't let you talk unless they think they have to. I had to figure out a way to get them to listen to me, so what I did was I started a bloc of my own."
Celina and her colleagues were given a realistic task: dealing with ISIS.
"We had to come up with a resolution that ensured all of the NATO states were safe, and then we had to figure out how to prevent ISIS from spreading, how to stop it altogether, and how to prevent other terrorist organizations or new branches of ISIS from cropping up," Celina explained.
"From Day One, Celina was dedicated in her research, but after her first night in conference (at Harvard), when she returned from committee with anger, passion, and direction, we felt she was in for a memorable weekend," Mr. Cook said.
Celina was in committee sessions for roughly 21 hours during parts of four days, debating and drafting papers in hopes of presenting a resolution.
"It's pretty vigorous," she said. "You're in there for hours and you really don't get breaks except for between the sessions."
The more engrossed Celina became in the process, the more it confirmed she may pursue a career with similar scenarios.
"It's tiring and overwhelming, but it's so satisfying," Celina said. "You meet all these people and get to debate interesting issues and learn about interesting topics you don't get to talk about as a teenager. People wouldn't take me seriously if I started talking about counterterrorism. But when you are at Model UN, people treat you like a delegate. You kind of feel like an adult for a weekend, and it's really nice."