A Floral Park Memorial High School senior with a passion for politics was among select groups representing the United States recently in Model United Nations delegations to China and India.
Thomas Kenna was part of separate All-American Model UN groups that went to Beijing, China, and Hyderabad, India, in August, taking part in simulations of diplomacy and debates. He was among 18 American students who went to China and eight who traveled to India.
Relatives, friends and local organizations raised about $7,000 to help pay for Kenna's participation. Floral Park English teacher Christin Mason was instrumental in spreading the word about the fundraising, Kenna said.
"I was really surprised and grateful," said Kenna, 17. Of the conferences, he said: "It's interesting to see similarities and differences in worldviews among my peers."
In China, Kenna took a mock position representing Russia and debated topics such as terrorism and the Ukraine crisis. In India, he represented Greece and debated topics including ship-breaking, which is the process of dismantling an obsolete vessel's structure for scrap. At both conferences, he won the Outstanding Delegate Award, which equates to a second-place honor, he said.
Kenna, a Boy Scout, is president of the Student Council and a member of Key Club, Model UN Club, Ecology Club and National Honor Society. He also is his school's mascot and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper.