Proud spot at the table

Published 10:02 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For a few hours on Thursday, a round table in Norfolk substituted for a similar one in Brussels, Belgium, and a group of 28 students, including one from Suffolk, took the places of the diplomats who normally sit around that table as part of the North Atlantic Council.

King’s Fork High School senior DeLauren Davis had a singular opportunity to take part in the Model NATO challenge last week as part of the Norfolk NATO Festival. She represented Spain in exercises that called on the students representing all 28 NATO member nations to suggest and develop appropriate responses to cases of piracy and cyber-aggression.

The exercise required a significant amount of research by Davis and the other participants, and students were also guided by mentors from their respective countries, who helped them address the exercises realistically. Davis’ mentor was a Spanish naval commander and helped her keep his nation’s capabilities in mind while she and the other students sought collective answers to the challenges they were presented.

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Davis described the exercises to Suffolk News-Herald reporter Matthew Ward as “exciting” and “overwhelming,” and it was clear from her chat with him that she had enjoyed herself.

But the event was about more than a few students having fun pretending to be international diplomats. Six of the participants will receive scholarships, based on the essays they wrote for acceptance into the program, along with the results of judging from Thursday’s program.

Davis, who has been accepted to the College of William and Mary, hopes eventually to go to school in St. Andrews, Scotland, as part of a dual-study program, so she almost surely could use the financial help a scholarship would afford.

Whether she wins that scholarship or not, however, Davis should be proud to have earned a seat at the round table. And King’s Fork High School can be proud to have sent Suffolk’s only representative to the event.