TWO Prestwich teens are celebrating after winning top prizes at one of the countries leading student conferences.

Navya Sarwal and Roni Altman, aged 17, were part of a Manchester High School for Girls team that scooped the Outstanding Delegation award at one of the UK's biggest Model United Nations student conferences.

The competition, held at Haberdasher's Aske's Boy's School in Hertfordshire between March 16 and 18, simulated a real UN meeting, with students from 32 schools each representing a different country.

Beating off stiff competition from over 400 delegates, the team debated issues from mental health to cyber security.

The girls also each took home an individual award, with Ms Sarwal winning the Best Delegate prize, and Ms Altman the Distinguished Delegate prize.

Ms Sarwal said: “I am really proud of our Outstanding Delegation award and how we performed as a team.

"I was also delighted to win the Best Delegate prize as I’ve been involved with Model United Nations for three years.

"I now understand so much more about why countries make certain policies, and my overall awareness of what is going on in the world has vastly improved.

“I was assigned to represent countries such as Iran on women’s rights issues, and it’s easy to get frustrated when policies don’t always match your own personal opinion.

"MUN and the research that is required into each country’s background has, however, helped me realise that there are many different viewpoints to an argument.”

A popular extra-curricular activity at MHSG, each week students from Year 9 to sixth form take part in meetings, and regularly attend conferences like HABSMUN.

The school also held its first international MUNHIGH conference in January, attended by over 300 students.

Ms Altman, who has been involved in MUN for four years, said: “I have really benefited from all the conferences and sessions in school where we research into global issues and study them through alternative perspectives.

"My confidence has grown and I find it much easier to speak in front of large audiences.

"Winning the coveted team award, as well as an individual Distinguished Delegate award, was fantastic and I know that the skills I have learned from MUN will stay with me for a lifetime.”

The girls and their team also received praise from MHSG.

Jacinta Heydecker, MUN co-ordinator and history teacher, said: “The team from Manchester High represented Japan at the conference and extolled all the fantastic skills that MUN develops.

"Passionate about the issues and self-reliant in their preparation, the team rose to every challenge thrown at them and richly deserved both their individual awards and their top prize.

“As a team, they revelled in the excitement of high-level debating and the chance to promote solutions to some of the most complicated problems facing the international community today.

"Their success is a real testament to the hard work and dedication they all put into MUN, and I congratulate them all.”