Lafayette Student Y Goes to KUNA


Photo Credit: Tanner Gray

Louisville, KY : Lafayette Student Y delegation with their awards after the KUNA conference held at the Galt House March 12-14, 2023.

Student Y is Lafayette’s YMCA-overseen service and debate club participating in yearly debate conferences. From Sunday, March 12th to Tuesday, March 14th, the Lafayette Student Y attended the Kentucky United Nations Assembly, KUNA for short.

KUNA is an interactive, debate-surrounded conference where Student Y clubs from all over Kentucky represent their delegation’s country in a mock United Nations. KUNA, an annual conference hosted in Louisville, is one of two conferences Student Y participates in. The other is the Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA), which is based around the Kentucky legislature instead of the United Nations.

During KUNA, students share the culture of their chosen countries through displays. They can perform on the International Stage, where students create a performance that showcases an important part of the country.

Much of the debate surrounds whether or not to pass resolutions created by each delegation’s resolution sponsors. Resolutions are legislation sponsors hope to pass into mock United Nations law. Resolutions typically address prevalent problems in the sponsor’s country that can improve the UN and our world. However, students also have the opportunity to participate in special program areas such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Security Council, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), and Media Corps.

Lafayette’s Student Y attended High School KUNA 2 conference this year, representing Ghana and Bangladesh as a delegation, as well as Albania and Afghanistan in the Security Council program. Twenty-eight students made up Lafayette’s delegation, as well as three teacher advisors/ supervisors, Mrs. McPherson, Mr. Gray, and Mrs. Lemons.

McPherson told The Times, “…It was the first normal conference since COVID, so last year we were back in person, but it was fully masked, and this year it felt like…what it had been in…[March] 2020.”

Lafayette’s delegation made two posters displaying culture, country, and facts about Ghana and Bangladesh, along with objects representing both countries. They also made the national emblems of both countries to show in the Parade of Nations, where all schools in attendance represent their countries in a walk holding a sign of their country and their flag. Lafayette also took part in an International Stage performance representing Ghana. Only two other schools participated in the International Stage, representing Nigeria and Haiti. Lafayette’s performance consisted of eight delegates and was led and choreographed by senior member Nel Afenya.

For KUNA, every country has to write and present a resolution relevant to their country to be voted on during the conference. Lafayette’s delegates produced resolutions for Ghana and Bangladesh. Ghana’s resolution surrounded the creation of a West African Cocoa Coalition to improve and regulate the cocoa industry in West Africa. At the same time, Bangladesh’s resolution aimed to reform the kafala system by providing monetary incentives to countries to establish a minimum wage. Freshman Kiitan Adedeji and sophomore Eva Alcaraz-Monje sponsored Ghana’s resolution, and seniors Vidhi Buch, Charlie Naish, and Logan Ward sponsored Bangladesh’s.

Lafayette also made a splash in the special programs, participating in all four programs. Lafayette’s own David Hensley served as ICJ President and junior Zoya Abbas as an ICJ Justice, along with three other members participating in the ICJ program. Four members also participated in the Security Council program, debating on behalf of Albania and Afghanistan. Seniors Aileen Conner and Kiah Oney-Adams worked in Media Corps, writing articles, posting on social media, and interviewing ambassadors. Senior Holland Kantar worked in the NGO program, and seniors Kacey Rowe and Landon Lepley participated as committee chairs, monitoring, and leading debate.

As a delegation, Lafayette took home the gold. Lafayette was awarded Premiere Delegation status, which allowed them to win the Outstanding Statesmanship award for having the highest overall quality of contribution to the debate. Both resolutions were ranked highest in their ranking committees. Both were passed by their committees, and Ghana’s resolution was one of seven resolutions endorsed by the Deputy Secretary General of the UN.

Lafayette’s delegates also come home highly decorated. Kantar was awarded Outstanding NGO, Ella Stumpf won Outstanding Ambassador for Lafayette, and four senior members were awarded Outstanding Speakers, Nel Afenya, Josh Smith, Nate Barker, and Vidhi Buch. Rowe was one of four of twenty committee chairs selected as one of five Vice Presidents of the Voting Committees.

Every year, one advisor out of all advisors representing their delegations is chosen to be inducted into the YMCA Advisor Hall of Fame. This year, eleven-year Lafayette Student Y sponsor Sherri McPherson was recommended by two senior members and became KUNA 2023’s inductee for her tireless effort and support for her students.

“It was really special. It was a surprise, honestly [to be nominated]. This group of seniors have been with me [through a pandemic]. They were the last group to do regular programming; we did virtual, we did masked programming, and then it went back to normal. It was kind of special to have that group [nominate me],” shared McPherson on her award.

Student Y greatly appreciates her and all she does to ensure they have the best Y conferences possible.

KUNA 2023 was a smashing success for Lafayette’s Student Y. They are looking for new members to join for next year. They meet in Mrs. McPherson’s room 212 every Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30. If you’re looking for a service-based club where you have the space to share your opinions, debate, and have fun, Lafayette’s Student Y Club is the place for you.