Category Archives: Student Life

Video Game Review: Fallout 3

By: Shawn K. ‘19

Back in 2004, Bethesda Softworks announced in a press conference that they had bought the rights to the critically acclaimed RPG series Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game, where the protagonist assumes the role of a human living in the future after the nuclear bombs were dropped, in an alternate reality of course. However, while the first two were made by Interplay Entertainment, Bethesda had bought all the rights to the franchise. What ended up happening was a critically acclaimed masterpiece at the time of its 2008 release, managing to bring home the 2008 Game of the Year award from the Game Awards, among other many acclaimed prizes and praise. However, in the modern day, where universally praised masterpieces like Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fallout: New Vegas, and the Dark Souls trilogy manage to revolutionize the Action-RPG genre, can Fallout 3 still manage to hold a candle?

Fallout 3 follows the story of the Lone Wanderer, the son/daughter (depending on what the character picks) of James, a doctor, who both live in the secluded Vault 101, not too far from the ruins of Washington D.C., many decades after the nuclear bombs fell. The Lone wanderer lives a peaceful, and a quiet nineteen years in the vault, before his father escapes and his mentor Jonas is killed. Now, it’s up the Lone Wanderer to leave the vault, find his father, and quite possibly change the landscape of the Wastelands as we know it.

Fallout 3‘s story is still remarkable in this day and age. Not only are the characters compelling and fascinating, but they grow alongside you and develop with you. This is stacked on top of outstanding voice acting from notable works such as Ron Pearlman, Liam Neeson, and Malcom McDowell voicing the Narrator, James, and John Henry Eden respectively. Fallout 3 also has a very gripping story around sacrifice, completing dreams, friendships, and hope. Without spoiling it, FO3 has an immaculate sense of storytelling and world building unmatched by modern games today in its genre, especially when taking into consideration that your dialogue choices as a player affect the overall outcome of your journey. Sequels such as New Vegas and 4 don’t come near 3‘s marvelous adventure in terms of scale and depth.

London Calling

By: Olivia L. ’21

My first memory of our London trip begins as we made our way onto yet another long bus ride, soaking in the sights and information along the way. After that rainy ride, we arrived at Warwick Castle­ — a location that had not been visited on the London Trip for ten years. Despite originally feeling uncertain about what was to come, Warwick Castle was a kind surprise, and one that is now many student’s favorites. We first walked through the gate that gave us the rather grandiose view of, not only the Castle itself, but the world it was laid upon. A mix of everything from dungeons and weaponry to portraits and elegant dining halls, Warwick Castle provided a full experience of the Tudor-Stork period (the era it represented.) The highlight of Warwick was surely the haunted hallway where fear and history came to play. Along with a few of my friends, Mr. Weissman and Mr. Crane accompanied us. Nothing seemed to frighten Mr. Crane in the slightest, and Mr. Weissman was chopped to bits before we were able to leave the maze (not literally, of course).

Stratford-upon-Avon, the next stop in the London Experience, proved to be a spot brimming with history. The town came to life as much of what we had learned about in school was displayed there. We toured Shakespeare’s birthplace and the cramped house he lived in with eight other family members. A replica of the infamous “second-best bed” could be found before making our way out into the courtyard, where reenactments of Shakespeare’s most famous plays were performed, and even some of the students joined the actors on stage! In Stratford, we briefly toured the Guild Chapel, known with regards to William Shakespeare because John Shakespeare had whitewashed the paintings inside of it. Many of the murals inside are still being restored to their former glory. It is lucky they were not destroyed at the time, but it was decided to only cover them for the time being because the accepted religion by the Church of England was constantly changing from Anglican to Protestant.

The streets of London were becoming ever so quiet as our group walked briskly to what would be one of the best dinners in London. We had eaten Italian style, and the sound of the pan sizzling was a faint reminder of how hungry I had been after all of the walking. It was well worth it, as most of us easily cleared out plates. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Twelfth Night came next on our list, and some of us were familiar with the high school’s production of it only last fall. Though confusing at first, with Mr. Weissman’s help, we all had a grasp on the story by the end. With mistaken identities, cross-dressers, and even a character named Olivia, the plot of this comic play never fails to amaze.

Wednesday, on what undoubtedly felt like the longest day, our class ventured far and wide throughout the city of London and beyond. Beginning with Trafalgar Square, a wide expanse of sculptures, fountains, and other aesthetic monuments, we split into groups to head into the National Gallery. We had already prepared for the paintings we were about to see, as each student was assigned a painting to present. Intermittently, between presentations, we sketched some of the paintings. From Monet to Titian, painters from every walk of life could be found in this museum.

The Mall…no, not the one you’re thinking of. You can’t buy Jordans or a lipstick at Sephora here. In the City of Westminster, between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, The Mall has been historically used for royal events, as it sits right outside of the palace. In direct connection with Buckingham Palace, the center for many British celebrations, The Mall has been a place for crowds of people to wait for the Royals public appearances. According to the flag positioning (raised in this case) indicated that the Queen was in Buckingham Palace for the time being, though unfortunately, we did not catch a glimpse of her.

On our way to Westminster Abbey, on the south side of The Mall, we walked through St. James’s Park. Along the path, a lake can be seen on one side, and a history of the royal guard museum on the other. During James I’s reign in 1503, St. James’s Park housed exotic animals, including crocodiles, elephants, camels, and a variety of wild birds. Having finally arrived at Westminster Abbey, we split into groups and began our tour of the coffins of some of the most famous figures in history. Kings and Dukes, poets and authors could be found throughout. A special section was set aside called “Poet’s Corner.” Here, after each of us was assigned to one of the authors buried just below our feet, we saw the epitaphs inscribed on our poet’s grave and sat down to sketch some of the magnificent architecture.

The highlight of the day was the London Eye. At this time, it was just dark enough for the London Eye to illuminate off of the South Bank of the River Thames. As we made our way up to the top, we stopped for pictures. At the highest point, we looked down below us and tried to fathom the enormity of it all.

On Thursday, we ventured to the Roman Baths in the city of Bath, England. The entrance was tucked into a building in a complex of restaurants and shops. We walked through the entrance to a museum about the history of Rome and its connection to the Baths. Ancient artifacts like coins, bronze heads, and replications of ancient sites could be found throughout the museum. After learning about much of what we were about to see, we stepped outside of the second floor overlooking the Baths. My first observation was how unclean the water must have been as it was a deep shade of green, indicating it probably wasn’t cleaned regularly. As I looked to either side, I saw the architecture that would have been the center of social gatherings during Rome’s height. At the floor below, we interacted with Roman characters acting as either slaves or masters. The slave we talked to provided us with yet another layer of understanding as if we were a character, and not an onlooker, as well.

Passing by pastures of cows and sheep, our class journeyed to the most tucked away parts of London. However, when we arrived, similar to the Roman Baths, we learned the history of Stonehenge through the ages and the impact it has had. Stonehenge, what appears to be a random series of rocks, has bewildered archeologists and historians for years. Neither the “what” or the “why” has been determined for certain. The utter mystery of the placement of these rocks has made it a well visited tourist site. While most students took pictures of the Stonehenge rocks and each other, other students took interest in the “possessed bird” as they called it, providing ­– what they claimed was — further evidence of the unsettling mystique surrounding Stonehenge.

Our last stop before returning to the bus was the Salisbury Cathedral. Before this, we had dinner and an unexpected show. We just happened to eat at a restaurant on the outskirts of a tree lighting festival. Although we didn’t stay long enough for the end, we took pictures with floating angels and danced to songs from the Sister Act. Although we did not walk into the Cathedral, as there was a mass going on, we observed the Gothic elements of Salisbury Cathedral and ones similar to it, marking a new era in architectural design that allowed larger windows and more light.

Trinity Square Garden was located in Tower Hill, London and was preserved as a public park around two hundred years ago. It currently houses Memorials for the Tower Hill War, WWI, and WWII. After visiting this site in the morning, we took pictures of London’s famous Tower Bridge. Paul Daley, our tour guide, recited all of the kings of England flawlessly before entering the Tower to see the changing of the guard and the Crown Jewels. The jewels were truly magnificent, some dating back to the 1500’s and still intact and in use for coronations. We then split into groups and walked through halls of armor, torturing devices, weapons, and even churches. The hall of weaponry featured artillery that would have been used by guards in the Tower of London, and for the Royal Guard, through the Ages. Some military personnel still live and serve on the property. Those that have served for at least 22 years were eligible.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the Tate interactive modern art gallery could be found across the way. We visited the Tate briefly and were immediately immersed in modern art exhibits like the three-person swings and the constantly mobile swinging ball that gave the illusion that it could hit the people walking below, but never did. The stripes on the path below it added yet another layer to this optical illusion. A street down from there, a recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, was built on the piece of land that would have been where the original most likely was. The new Globe acts as a spot for tourists and students, but also for performances as well. With limited modern technology and seat prices set as close to the original theatres equivalent as possible, everything at this theatre is meant to be in the likeness of one at the time of Shakespeare. We were able to sit in the audience, walk on stage, and go backstage as well. On stage, it felt as if we were the performers, and backstage gave us a glimpse of what tech crew’s responsibilities might entail. After this, we had a discussion in a lecture-like room. In the shape of an amphitheater, we discussed and performed.

At the British Museum, our last stop in London on Friday, we spent most of our time sketching the Parthenon Marbles. Each student in our class was assigned a frieze — a decorated sculpture with low relief — to draw during class. These drawings and pictures were taken with us to the museum so that we could sketch them and a number of others. The Parthenon Marbles themselves have sparked a controversy that continues to this day. They are also known as the Elgin Marbles, after Lord Elgin who “took” the sculptures directly off of the structures they were attached to in Greece. Lord Elgin brought them back to London to be displayed in the British Museum so that they could be viewed by everyone.

Overall, this trip brought back so many fond memories, not only of London itself, but with new friends and teachers as well. I can’t wait to visit the city again and see what new experiences it has to offer!

SAC Day Spirit

By: Cassandra C. ‘17

From the very first event, it was clear that this school year would include an intense competition in SAC for the house cup.

house student-teacher

In my four years in upper school at SIA, this was perhaps the most spirited I have ever seen our students: from painted faces, foam fingers, to a serpentine (?) mascot, everyone wanted to partake in the competition, even if they could not contribute athletically. Despite the events not going quite as planned due to the rainy weather, students still managed to enjoy the relays, penalty kicks, musical chairs competition, and the delightfully punny “Cheese the First” table.

artArt competition musicalMusical chairs

The overall winner of SAC Day was Methfessel House, taking 100 points, with Partington, Merrick, Stettinius, and Willard-Mundorf following in second, third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. As a comeback from a long history of lackluster house spirit, Merrick House was awarded 25 additional points, taking Merrick to third overall. The next event for the year will be the House Decorating Competition in December. As I’m sure Ms. Large would say, this year is going to be a great year for SAC! (Also, go Merrick House!)

meth stettinius


What is Scholarship?

By: Trip M. ’17

Hello everyone! It is my job to discuss the idea of scholarship and it is out my sense of duty to the school, and not Ms. Crig’s Taser that she carries, that I have the pleasure of writing for you today. In preparing this article, the big quandary that I was faced with (apart from vague Taser threats, of course) was what is scholarship? And I think the issue is that the term scholarship is grotesquely and incorrectly defined in the sense that it is too often coupled with someone being smart. Even intelligence in this day and age is misinterpreted. If someone does well on a math test does that immediately make them smart? Is intellect that one-dimensional? Well, the math test may win you a hug from Justin Almeida, but can school assessments validate or invalidate someone as a scholar? Why was one of the world’s most famous geniuses, Albert Einstein, a sub-par student? (I am so sorry, I had to put at least one golf reference in.) So, what is it then that defines the scholar?


In order to attempt to explain this idea of scholarship, let me tell you a story. The year is 2006; I am a bold and inquisitive six-year-old. My mother, sister, and grandparents are on a vacation in Rome. Our destination is the Vatican and I have the odd misconception that the pope will be waiting there for us. Well, before we can meet his exaltedness, we have to actually get there. The whole family piles onto a city bus that we just assume is going to the Vatican. And let me tell you, I am killing the style game as always, donning a mustard yellow shirt, dark mesh shorts, and socks with sandals. And to top it all off, a jean-blue Fannie pack. I know. I am basically the younger incarnation of an elderly woman named Bertha. So, Bertha and the family squeeze onto an overcrowded bus with commuters, gypsies, and many other tourists. Looking back at it, we are probably the most shameless tourists that Rome has ever seen. But back to the bus. It seems that every stop takes at least 15-20 minutes, and with the patience of a six-year-old, this city bus basically becomes a torture chamber. After about two hours, we decide to hop off the horrid bus, and look up to see a wonderfully tall and impressive building: but it happened to be our hotel. Yep. I spent two hours in a crammed bus doing nothing with half of the family being robbed by the time we got off, and in the end, we are exactly where we started. But what does this mean? How is it relevant? Well, perhaps that’s just what scholarship is.


Scholarship is not about the result you achieve; it’s about the journey and the approach. Academic excellence ought to be measured in one’s diligence and attitude, not the result. So, if you take a Platis’ test and you don’t get the result you wanted, but you know that you gave your all, everything you had…that is scholarship. If you wanted to know the end to my story, my most beloved bus ride did not actually prove to be in vain. The next day, we oversaw a ceremony in which the pope did make an appearance, and now that I look back, perhaps my exasperating experience only strengthened the bond between my family and me. Similarly, the academic journey of the scholar, although not always successful, will build from past experience, until habitually sound academic practice becomes academic excellence! But it all has to start somewhere. And that somewhere is the determined mindset and educational insatiability that embodies the heart of a true scholar.

What is Character?

By: Charlotte A. ’17

What is Character?

As the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” So today think of me as a Greek philosopher, minus the beard and the toga, as we touch on the universal question: What is character?


Character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Every single person has their own set of beliefs and guidelines for how to treat other people, behave in certain situations, and make ethical decisions. These beliefs and guidelines for our emotions and behaviors that we display on a daily basis are what give us our personalities and our “character.”

Throughout your education everyone here has certainly had at least one English teacher who has talked about the importance of “characterization” in a story. “Characterization is the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character.” I remember one author who wrote, “Unfortunately, characterization is one of the most difficult aspects of creative writing to master, because authors tend to naturally fall into the fatal trap of creating two-dimensional, cardboard characters. We may describe the grandmother in our story, for example, as kindly, with softly-curled gray hair, and a preference for polyester floral prints. Isn’t that how all grandmothers look? Of course not; that’s a stereotype. Good stories feature characters who turn the stereotypes upside down — people who defy expectations.” This quote really made me reflect upon Staten Island Academy and the character of the students that attend here. We defy expectations.


I am what the Academy calls “a lifer.” I have been enrolled here since Pre-K. As I look toward senior year, I realize I have never once regretted staying at my home on the hill, because in my opinion, the community here defies those previously mentioned “expectations.” I have had the privilege of being raised in this community, and my character was shaped and molded as I made my journey through each grade. Kids who start attending SIA in middle or upper school are quickly integrated into our family and embraced with open arms, as we help them to understand how our community works – how our character evolves.

A person of character exhibits kindness, creativity and respect. They are accepting and nonjudgmental. They are principled, and have integrity. I am proud of my friends, the Academy community who are truly people of character. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again. Who knows great enthusiasms; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Staten Island Academy students do not sit on the side lines. As Teddy Roosevelt said, we are actually “in the arena.” And whether that arena is a stage, basketball court, lacrosse field, art studio, or a classroom, we defy expectations, we strive valiantly, and even if we fail, we fail by daring greatly. We are in the arena, an arena of great character.

Decoding the Dress Code

By: Andrew B. ’16

At least once a week a comment or announcement is made by a faculty member about dress code at morning meeting. Despite this, a good portion of the student body continues to ignore the dress code, which allows for plain white, navy, gray, or maroon sweaters with a white or maroon polo. For male students, khaki, gray, or navy pants are required, while female students have the option of navy, gray, or khaki pants or skirts. Then, there’s formal which requires a crisp, white button down and navy blazer with knee high socks and flats for girls, while boys wear dress shoes and school ties. For the most part, students follow formal dress; however, regular dress code seems to be the largest issue. As I walk around school, there are days I cannot tell who is in dress code and who is in dress down. Some students don’t even own a polo and simply wear t-shirts. I have seen everything from a subtle black or beige to red, hot pink, and even, camouflage. A few days ago, I saw students wearing black sweatpants instead of khakis. If no one is following dress code, then why have it?


I speak from experience when I say I have stretched the dress code. I’ve worn worn every variation of white there is and several shades of grey. I’ve pushed the dress code with subtle neutrals like beige and black, but have gone as far as to wear a leather jacket, a denim jacket, and even olive green. The majority of the time I’m allowed to wear these items because it’s usually a neutral or subtle color. Now, by no means am I complaining about not receiving a warning or detention over what I wear, but I find myself wondering why we continue to mandate what students wear, when half the time it’s not enforced.


Several independent schools in the area have amended their dress codes in lieu of a much lenient one. Students at some of these schools are expected to dress “preppy.” Boys are not allowed to wear sweatpants or jeans, but can wear chinos or khakis in varying colors and styles. They also have flexibility in the color of the collared shirt they are required to wear—whether it be a polo or button down. Outwear and sweaters don’t have a specified color; they simply can’t have large logos or writing. For female students, any pants that aren’t leggings, jeans or sweatpants are allowed, along with skirts and dresses of an appropriate length. This sort of dress code offers students a better chance to express themselves through their wardrobe. With such a lenient dress code, dress down days would not really be necessary.

At some point or another, students at SIA have complained about dress code, but the dress code here is much better than at most schools with religious affiliations. While a more lenient dress code would be an added perk to attending Staten Island Academy, I think we are all grateful for the fact that a dress shirt and tie is not required daily. Who knows, maybe by next year the more lenient dress code mentioned in this article will be a part of SIA.

The Science Olympiad

By: Sharukh K. ‘17

On Saturday February 6th, 2016, Staten Island Academy’s Science Club left campus at 5:30 AM and travelled all the way to Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, NY to compete in its annual Science Olympiad. This was only the Academy’s second year competing, being that the Science Club just started two years ago, and even though we are still developing as a team, we did a phenomenal job.

Last year, which also happened to be our first year competing, Wesley D, ‘17 and Ryan A. ‘17 earned 10th place in the competition, “Write It. Do It”. In this competition, one teammate has to write a procedure to an experiment that the other teammate will use to complete it. Competing against schools like Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, and Staten Island Tech is not easy, but with our determination and diligence, we did it. This year, the Academy won two awards, one in “rite It. Do It” and the other in “Electric Vehicle”. In “Write It. Do It” Wesley D. ‘17 and Ryan A. ‘17 earned first place and in “Electric Vehicle” Wesley D. ‘17 and Trip M. ‘17 earned eighth place. Both of these events had around forty-five teams that competed and to place in the top ten, earning a medal is a great accomplishment; especially given it was only our second year.


The Science Olympiad is much more than kids working hard and concentrating on winning. It is also a place where kids from high schools get to spend time with each other and enjoy the experience. Morenike M. ‘16 was willing to share her experiences and said, “I thought the Olympiad was definitely fun and a good educational experience. My favorite part was competing in Protein Modeling with Kevin G. ‘16 because we trained for it so we worked cohesively throughout the event.” Kevin G. ‘16 also shared his experiences and said, “The Science Olympiad was very fun and I enjoyed designing experiments, playing with chemicals, reflecting lights off of mirrors, and after the events were over, playing games with other kids on the Science Club and Dr. Ward.”

sci2 sci3

Wesley D. ‘17, founder and leader of the Science Club, shared with us his thoughts on the Science Olympiad, “The NYC Science Olympiad is a chance for SIA students to compare their scientific prowess to some of the best schools in the metropolitan area. Last year, our single team placed 51st overall out of 61. This year, our first team, made up of all returning members, placed 33rd overall out of 63, while our new second team placed 53rd. I would say this is a huge and unprecedented improvement, considering it has only been two years. We will aim for twentieth or less overall next year. Hopefully, we can compete in states, which requires 7th place or less overall. Though we received medals for 1st and 8th in two events, we will need similar results in the other twenty-three events that also count towards our placement. My favorite part was watching everyone build and test their awesome devices for the events. It felt good knowing that many of us prepared heavily for the event, and thirsted for the win. Winning individual awards is great, but what I really want is one of the team awards given to teams who go on to states.”

Even though it was the students who won the awards, the only reason that the Science Olympiad ran so smoothly was because of our dedicated faculty members. On this past Olympiad, we had Mrs. O’Hara, Mrs. Meyer, Mr. Wollney, and Dr. Ward accompany us on the trip. This was sadly Dr. Ward’s last Science Olympiad being that it is her last year teaching at the Academy. She was also willing to share her experiences and said, “By far what I love the most about Science Olympiad is hanging out with all of my students and doing science outside of the our normal classes. The club really felt camaraderie this year. Each open lab was so relaxed and simultaneously buzzing with activity. This year I learned a great deal about self-propelled airplanes and electric cars and watched in awe as Philip and Patrick hit target after target with their air trajectory device in the atrium. Science is always fun for me, but spending time with my students while they show me their love of science is something I will always cherish.” Overall, the Science Olympiad is a fun event and hopefully we do as well next year as we did this year and enjoy the experience at the same time.

Mrs. Platis’ Last Model UN: The Final Chapter

By: Kaleigh M

Mrs. Caren Platis has been leading the Model UN club at Staten Island Academy for 18 years! As a rookie participant for the most recent Model UN Conference, it was amazing to see the results of the hard work and commitment she has put into this program over the years. All of the students are grateful and appreciate of everything she has done to make this program one of the best, which led to the assembly of SIA’s largest delegation in 25 years. Mrs. Platis put her “all” into every mock session, every paper she read and re-read, and every conference she led.

I recently had the great opportunity to ask Mrs. Platis a few questions about her years leading the Model UN club at SIA.  When asked what made her want to go back to Model UN every year, her exact words were, “The students and the faculty of course! What better way to spend a frosty January weekend each year than with my fun-filled colleagues and several dozen excited, sleep-deprived, food-focused teenagers, at a huge pseudo-political conference?”

MUN Faculty 2016

MUN Faculty 2016

Of course I had to ask Mrs. Platis what memory stands out to her the most throughout her 18 years of leadership. Her all-time favorite Model UN memory was when she and Mr. Weissman took a small delegation to Beijing, China in 2010. For this opportunity, they brought ten delegates who competed among 2,000 other students mostly from other Asian nations. There were two awards won among the ten SIA students, which made Mrs. Platis and Mr. Weissman very proud. Many people associate the city of Philadelphia with their famous Philly Cheesesteaks. Another fond memory Mrs. Platis has is the “Cheesesteak Eating Contest” they held for several years. One student ate a total of 10 Philly Cheesesteaks in one weekend. It is important to note the record is still unbroken to this day. Perhaps someone will break it next year.

Looking ahead, Mrs. Platis feels the best years of SIA’s Model UN will occur in the future, but I think we all know some of the best years and memories were experienced with her at the helm. I also asked Mrs. Platis what legacy she hopes to leave for the club and the next Leadership Team. She responded by saying that she hopes that she has, “instilled a sense of stewardship and honor” in everyone. Mrs. Platis also said that she always asks the leaders to leave the program better than they found it.

Passing the Gavel

Passing the Gavel

I wanted to make this article special so I asked a few students about their favorite memory from any past Model UN. Trip M (Grade 11) has been doing Model UN for the past three years and will be part of the Leadership Team next year as a senior. Trip begins to share his most memorable “Platis moment” by saying that Mrs. Platis is certainly legendary at Staten Island Academy. He states, “The most eventful ‘Platis memory’ I have is most certainly the fall of 2015, when Mrs. Platis broke her arm after falling over a student’s luggage.” He says that the students tend to blame Mr. Weissman for the incident. After this occasion, Mr. Weissman became known as the “bone crusher” and “the ticking time bomb.” Another Model UN memory that Trip remembers was talking to Mrs. Platis and the other faculty during his freshman year one night after his first conference. Trip said that he was alone in a large committee, but after he spoke to her he felt more confident in himself. Trip ended with saying, “I am happy to say that Mrs. Platis has played a major role in my development as a debater, but also as a person.”

I also asked Ryan D (Grade 12) who was on the Leadership Team this past conference what his favorite memory was from his four years participating in Model UN. Ryan’s favorite memory was very special and meaningful. He said his it was when Mrs. Platis appointed him, John H, and Morenike M to be on the Leadership Team for the 2015-2016 Model UN conference. This was a special moment because the three of them worked so hard in their years at Model UN working in small, intense committees. Mrs. Platis has made everyone’s Model UN special in one way or another.  Of course we had to find out what Mrs. Platis favorite memory was from her last Model UN conference at SIA. She said, “At this last conference I was very pleased to see a strong sense of harmony and cooperation among delegates, both new and experienced. We were thrown a few curve-balls this year, yet the students were flexible, responsible and positive.”

I am sure that Mrs. Platis has made every Model UN a memorable one that is never to be forgotten. Something Mrs. Platis also shared with me is how grateful she feels to have been accompanied by Mark “the Bone-Crusher” Weissman who would sit with her in the hallways late into the night and make her laugh until she cried. Mrs. Platis will always be our fearless Model UN leader and we hope to live up to her legacy in the years to come.

Model UN

By: Maxine V.

Model UN was a weekend filled with scintillating debate, hours and hours of conference, and loads of fun at the infamous Delegate Dance. As a rookie, I went into Model UN just hearing about it from the people who went in the previous years. However, I definitely wasn’t prepared for what I walked into late Thursday night. I watched as people entered into committee with stacks upon stacks of research, speeches, resolutions, etc. I soon realized that Model UN was more than the average person would consider a “club”. In order to be successful, you must research your given topic thoroughly until you know it like the back of your hand. Not only do you have to do research, but you must abide by the conditions assigned to you by your committee. That may mean representing a country you’ve never heard of before or having to place yourself back fifty years to when the committee was dated.

The committees range from ten people in a Crisis Committee to two hundred in a General Assembly. The competition is intense and all countries must be able to speak on their feet and quickly think of answers to questions being asked of them by countries with opposing ideas. As the committee sessions pass, the goal of the committee is to formulate a reasonable solution to the problem at hand. During the last day of committee, countries must vote on resolutions that clearly maintain order between all nations.

Staten Island Academy’s delegation was the biggest yet, with about fifty-five kids. While all of our delegates were outstanding, there were two in particular who received accolades for their contribution to debate. Trip M’ (Grade 11), won Outstanding Delegate in his committee about Pontiac’s Rebellion in which he represented Shawnee. John H’ (Grade 12) received a verbal commendation for his contribution to debate in his committee as well.

Yes, hours (19 hours to be exact, I counted) of committee got to be extremely exhaustive towards the end of the weekend. However, the weekend was not purely filled with sitting in a room discussing politics. On Friday and Saturday night, the Model UN staff provided fun events for delegates to attend after a full day of working hard. While the Delegate Fest was a fun, low-key event, the Delegate Dance was the main attraction. On Saturday night, hundreds of delegates piled into a ballroom and danced with friends they had gotten acquainted with throughout the weekend. It was a great way to end the event with a little hard-earned fun.

MUN 2016 will be one to remember, not only because of all the fun we had, but because it was Mrs. Platis’ last year as moderator. Mrs. Platis has been doing Model UN for over twenty years and her last one was surely eventful. From a rookie’s point of view, I can truly say it was a great learning experience for me and I cannot wait to be back at Model UN next year!