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Corona del Mar Speech, Debate, Model UN Team Receives Civic Learning Award of Excellence

The Speech, Debate and Model United Nations Team from received the 2022 of Excellence. The award is co-sponsored by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and identifies models in public schools that engage youth in learning about civics. The CdM team includes more than 80 students throughout the combined middle and high school campus and provides them greater opportunities to become involved and make change in their school and community. Part of their work is to become more politically informed and internationally conscious, as they develop their knowledge of local, regional, national and international laws and government. They also work to enhance their public speaking skills and help foster civic engagement among all students on campus with an elected student executive board directing the team, members alternate being the main speaker, facilitating “thought talks,” and serving as moderators. “I am proud of our team,” said Laura Mayberry, CdM teacher and team coach. The work they have done to elevate knowledge, increase civic engagement, and promote positive and productive discourse has had a tremendous impact on not only the team but on our campus and in our community.” CdM has had a Speech, Debate, Model UN Team for more than 16 years with this being their first Civic Learning Award for their work on a comprehensive civic engagement program that includes: International Civic Engagement Participation Students attended a myriad of conferences including the Model United Nations and Junior State of America. Both conferences provided instruction in governmental processes including law making, discussions and diplomacy, as well as various governing styles. This helped students understand law, politics, and contemporary issues. In preparation for the Model UN, students researched issues that the UN is currently working to address. They learned how international organizations like the UN operate and coordinate to reach consensus. During the conference, students used their knowledge and virtually acted as ambassadors at the United Nations working through pressing issues, such as child disarmament and the conflict in Myanmar. These experiences allowed students to learn about styles of government, policies, and international relations. As a result, students learned about laws that would otherwise have been unfamiliar to them. Notably, team members gained fundamental knowledge in the art of diplomacy through meaningful exchanges between delegates and ultimately coming to a resolution. By practicing diplomacy at Model UN, students became more knowledgeable and experienced on how to tactfully negotiate in government settings. Local Government Participation The CdM Speech and Debate Team hosted local and state speakers, attended conferences, and wrote letters to their representatives about topics that they valued, such as the environment, immigration, civil rights, the economy, and international issues. Students wrote school district leaders and school board trustees and spoke at board meetings in support of a hybrid learning environment during the 2020-21 school year. They advocated for families to have the choice to return to in-person instruction or remain online during the pandemic when most schools were fully distance learning. School board members also served as guest speakers and shared information about school operations and the reasoning behind District decisions. This prompted deeper discussions and provided feedback directly to the decision makers. The CdM team actively encouraged district leadership to consider moving the school start date earlier. City Government Participation Students attended Newport Beach City Council meetings where they learned about local issues and engaged in local decision-making processes. They shared opinions about local issues that impacted them directly, such keeping the bonfire pits open at local beaches. School Involvement Team members are involved in several school-wide leadership organizations. They work to encourage all students to participate in school governance, campus clubs, and organizations that have an impact on their day-to-day lives and serve as a catalyst for future involvement in local or national government. The CdM team is involved in a multitude of activities on campus including Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Peer Assistance Leadership and Human Relations Council which allows for representation in diversity of thoughts, opinions, and viewpoints when team members are debating and voicing their opinions. This is the tenth year for the Civic Learning Awards program, which includes three categories for awards including Merit, Distinction, and Excellence; with Excellence being the highest honor going to the CdM team. Way to go Sea Kings!
Source: CDM High School New

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