Boston and MUNtreal

SMCHS Model United Nations takes a pioneer trip to Montreal, Quebec for a Canadian conference making a pit-stop in Boston, Massachusetts.



Intro, Boston: College Loop and Fenway Park

When we received the news last year that the 2016 Senior MUN B Trip would visit Boston, MA and Montreal, Quebec, I knew I had to be a part of the trip. And I was not disappointed. Six seniors (including myself) and one junior, accompanied by two chaperones, journeyed together on the pilot trip to Boston and Montreal for a Canadian MUN conference. Seniors Keana Gonzales, Isobel Hume, Mary Retoske, Cecilia Nepple, Conner Riley.  junior Bryce Kaese and chaperones English teacher Daniel Trotter and US History teacher Lindsay Charity participated in this trip.

After a five hour red-eye flight, we touched down in Boston on Monday, Nov. 7 at 5 a.m.. We dropped our bags off at the hotel, ate breakfast and prepped for four college visits.

Our first stop was Boston College. While walking around, we took in the brilliant red leaves on the trees and the cold temperature that doesn’t exist in California. The beauty of Boston College helped me realize why so many students apply.

We returned to BC on Tuesday night for the ice hockey game, where the Boston College Eagles were victorious with a 5-3 win. I also got to see my cousin and SMCHS alumnus Grady Higgins and met up with SMCHS alumna Kristi Fecarotta.

Next on the itinerary was Boston University, where I got a good feel for the campus by walking through it.

Later in the day, we took a break from viewing colleges with a lap around Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It was a great experience to be in the presence of such important roots of baseball history, even though we didn’t go inside the park itself.

I was honored to set foot on Harvard University’s campus to see where some of the world’s smartest people receive their college education. I could feel Harvard’s age and history through the colonial style buildings and settled look of the quad.

I was also honored to visit another source of some more of the world’s smartest people: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT’s architecture is beautiful as well, and it has great views of the city and the river.

And that concluded our college tours. To end our first day in Boston, we ate dinner at Maggiano’s, an Italian restaurant, with SMCHS alumni Sam Drust, Morgan Delaney and Jake Lawicki.

Boston: The Freedom Trail, Quincy Market and Mike’s Pastry

We began our second day in Boston with a tour of the Freedom Trail, a route of historical sites full of information related to our country’s independence and the birth of Boston.

Our tour guide played the role of Mehitable Dawes, wife to William Dawes, fellow midnight rider of Paul Revere. She took us to many stops, one being a graveyard full of important historical people. We ended our tour at Faneuil Hall full of new knowledge about the city of Boston and the birth of our country.

Our visit to Quincy Market included scanning the different shops for souvenirs and purchases unique to Boston.

We stumbled upon a memorial to the Holocaust while walking back to our hotel. Although this stop was unexpected, it was one of my favorites because it reminded me of the hardships of World War II and the Holocaust. Each panel of the five glass pillars was covered in names of those Jews who lost their lives. This was a sight that I will never forget.

Another stop we made on the way back to the hotel was at Mike’s Pastry. This pastry shop specialized in all different types of cannoli as well as gelato. With a line out the door, I realized that this place was renowned for its desserts. I ordered a chocolate mousse cannoli and it tasted very good.

Montreal: Basilicas, and Au Sommet Place Ville Marie

After two eventful days in Boston, the time had come to travel to Canada. Upon our arrival in Montreal, we visited the Basilica de Notre Dame, a gorgeous building inside and out. I was not prepared for the inside of the basilica. The sight that greeted my eyes forced me to stand still and gape in awe at the interior of the building. Vibrant teal ceilings crisscrossed with arches and speckled with gold held stained glass skylights. The pathway through the pews and view of the altar will remain in my mind forever.

Our second stop in Montreal was the Au Sommet. From the highest floor of this building, we saw the panorama of Montreal. The views of the city were stunning. To learn more about Montreal, we received red wristbands with hearts on them. These bracelets made the learning interactive because when we came upon a section that we enjoyed reading about, we touched the wristband to the corresponding heart on that section to store for later. Once we had finished learning, we scanned the bracelets on a machine that took our interests and determined activities and destinations that would involve these interests in Montreal.

Towards the end of our first day in Montreal, we visited two other beautiful basilica churches with unique exteriors and interiors. The architecture in Montreal was one of my favorite things about the city.

Montreal: La Cartet et Le Musée de Beaux-Arts (Breakfast and the Museum of Fine Arts)

On our second day in Montreal, our chaperones left breakfast up to us, so my roommates Mary Retoske, Keana Gonzales and I ventured a couple blocks from our hotel to La Cartet, a cute and delicious breakfast nook about 15 minutes from our hotel.

Here I received a much-needed dose of yummy coffee and once I got my coffee I knew that my breakfast would be just as tasty. I ordered crêpes and they came with a piece of French toast and a bowl of yogurt – both pretty and delicious, this was easily my favorite meal of the trip.

The food fueled me up for our visit to the Fine Arts Museum of Montreal, which contained all types of amazing works of art. Being an art student, I really appreciated the variety of pieces, my favorites being the stuffed animal wall and the breath-taking illustration of the vase full of red roses.

Montreal: Moments before the Conference, Conference Itself

On Thursday Nov. 10, we shared one last breakfast together before the start of the conference. For the students involved in Crisis Committees or specialized agencies, the first committee session began on Thursday night after the Opening Ceremonies. For students involved in General Assembly committees and Economic & Social Councils, their first session of debate opened Friday afternoon.

Students from McGill University in Montreal put on the Secondary Schools’ United Nations Symposium (SSUNS) at the St. Bonaventure Hotel. SMCHS students participated in the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the 8th United States Congress and the First Scottish War of Independence from the viewpoints of Scotland and England.

Senior Connor Riley won the Pierre de Trudeau Gavel and senior Cecilia Nepple won the SSUNS Book Award.

I will always keep the memories of my last travel trip with SMCHS MUN close. It was a great end to four years of local and far-away conferences, and I am glad that I got to know my fellow MUNers better. Although I did not expect it to, the SMCHS MUN program has grown very dear to me, and this last hurrah of traveling with it made me realize how much I will miss it next year.