Four Mount Airy High students recently competed in the Oscar Merritt/United Nations Essay Contest, which included a full expense paid trip to New York City.
While there, the students — Gilleyn Bunting, Lindley Williams, Owen Perkins, and Olivia Wilson — visited the United Nations building and participated in a round table discussion at the United Nations Foundation on the topic for the essay.
The topic is tied to the 17 Sustainable Goals of the United Nations for 2030 and encourages students to develop and critically think about a world issue that the United Nations addresses.
This year the topic was how the UN can address the issue of large amounts of plastic in the world’s oceans. Students presented their essays first to local Rotary clubs and the top two essays were chosen by the Oscar Merritt Scholarship Committee to be read at the UN Education Foundation. Students then participated in a discussion on the topic and guest speakers were brought in to further discussion.
Students were also given the chance to tour New York City where they visited the 9/11 Memorial, Chinatown, Rockefeller Center, and saw the Statue of Liberty as well as a guided tour of the United Nations Building and General Assembly Hall.
“We got a taste of the New York culture and visited several New York attractions, including the United Nations Headquarters,” said Owen Perkins. “At the UN, we toured the meeting areas and assembly halls. We also met with Dr. Stillman, director of the United Nations Foundation, about our essays.’
”As students, we learned more about the U.N. and the processes used to solve issues,” said Gilleyn Bunting. “We had a lively discussion and went home learning how we can be better citizens in our world. This experience has changed how I view the people and the world in which we live.”