Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — Students got the chance to participate in mock sessions, debating, negotiating, caucusing, drafting and voting on resolutions that address sustainable development goals Friday.

All these opportunities happened today at Peoria Academy’s Model UN Summit.

The students represented delegates from different countries. Humanities teacher Holly Rocke said the model UN is in keeping with the school’s ethos.

She said that means bringing in people and ideas from the outside.

According to Rocke, the students are incredibly smart with wonderful ideas, and Model UN is giving them the voice to express those ideas

“I think it’s an amazing event for the students. At Peoria Academy we’re an international baccalaureate school — the only one in central Illinois,” says Rocke. “So we have a global focus; we’re learning not only what’s happening locally, but also how does that affect everything globally.”

Rocke said this is the 12th annual model UN leadership summit they’ve done at Peoria Academy.

She said the students took ownership of the event, and they are going places — so keep your eye on them.

Students from Peoria Public School District 150 joined Dunlap Community Unit School District 323.

Eighth-grader Saraswati Guzzardo loves many things about Model UN.

“Especially the kids though… seeing kids that have never done this before get so engaged and excited about it; it’s just so worthwhile,” Guzzardo said. “Makes the whole thing so exciting — especially this being a time I’m a chair, I get to see these kids’ faces light up when I talk about solving real-world problems.”

The 14-year-old said she loves talking and writing… traits harnessed by Model UN have led her to want to pursue a law career.