Attending the United Nations Youth Assembly, senior Nina Fusco snaps a picture of her desk area.

From meeting High School Musical star Monique Coleman to talking politics with Ben Carson, senior Nina Fusco had no shortage of experiences when she attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, and later journeying to the United Nations as a youth delegate in New York. 

After securing her place in the trip to Cleveland through the Junior State of America Club, Fusco had the opportunity to meet several public figures, including former presidential candidate Ben Carson.

“Meeting Ben Carson was a really good experience,” Fusco said. “We talked about Florida’s education at a state delegation breakfast, and he was really nice and inspiring. He saved so many lives as a doctor and I appreciate that, so I thought it was interesting.”

Presidential candidate Donald Trump also made an appearance, delivering a speech that differed from Fusco’s original expectations.

“I was ten feet away from Trump when he gave an amazing speech on the final night,” Fusco said. “I was expecting a bad speech from Trump, but it was actually a substantive speech with a lot of detail on his plans. That’s why the media didn’t cover much of it.”

Fusco was additionally shocked by what she identifies as media bias, citing the way the media attempted to portray the happenings of the Republican National Convention.

“They were zooming in on one protester while Trump was giving a great speech,” Fusco said. “The audience was chanting, and they were all so into it and excited, but the media only wanted to show that one protester. They rarely showed the audience, and when they did, they showed the crazy type of delegates and the unfair parts about it.”

In Fusco’s opinion, the press portrayed the event to be something that it was not before it had even occurred.

“The media was building it up the entire time, saying that there were all of these dangers and that it wouldn’t be safe there, and that there were going to be all of these protests,” Fusco said. “In reality, most protest groups didn’t show up; I only saw one protest group the entire time I was there, which was crazy.”

Social Science teacher Robert Sarver, whose government classes touch on the topic of media bias, affirms Fusco’s observations.

“It [the media] is probably biased against Donald Trump because he is biased against them,” Sarver said. “Nobody likes to be made fun of or called unprofessional, which he repeatedly does. If Nina was there, she should have a real life perspective of it, and I would rather trust her judgment of how they acted when she was there than anyone else’s.”

The trip concluded in New York, where Fusco acted as youth delegate after applying directly through the UN.

“I’m very proud of her for going to the UN as a youth delegate,” said senior Rosie DeFrancisci, a friend of Fusco. “It was really interesting, and she inspires me.”

In addition to being able to see how the UN operates, Fusco was allowed to sit in the general assembly hall during meetings, listen to speeches and, at times, partake in the discussion. From talk of sustainable development goals to a discussion of the true meaning of poverty, topics covered at the UN gave new insight to Fusco.

“In the United States our definition of poverty is very different,” Fusco said. “Here people consider poverty to be under $40,000 a year, whereas elsewhere, if you make over a couple of dollars a day, you aren’t in poverty. It was very eye opening.”

However, according to Fusco, the real show-stopper manifested in the form of actress Monique Coleman, who was appointed by the UN as Youth Champion.

“It was really cool and she was really inspiring,” Fusco said. “The part of me that loved High School Musical as a child came out and I was just so excited to meet her. I always watched the movie as a child and I thought it was really cool that she was doing good things after her fame. She’s using her success for something amazing.”

After the trip ended, there was yet another surprise waiting for her at home, as several news stations who had heard about her recent adventures were requesting interviews. Fusco, however, recounts feelings of apprehension in terms of which station she intended to choose.

“I was looking at my phone at all of the news stations to see what was going on,” Fusco said. “And then an insanely biased news station asked me for an interview and I just thought, ‘You’re just going to spin everything I say. I’m not going to do an interview with you.’”

However, News 13 also heard about Fusco’s expedition, and extended a similar offer to her. Having always been a viewer of News 13, Fusco naturally agreed.

“All of my friends were saying, ‘I just saw you on the news!’” Fusco said. “I was talking about how I thought Congressman Ted Yoho being a veterinarian was really cool, but I said vegetarian instead of veterinarian. I was so humiliated, and I was just praying to God that they wouldn’t show that part, but they cut it out, so that was great.”