When you ask your standard high school student who some of his or her closest friends are, the standard answer will warrant you a description of kids from around the area. However, as all of us know, CONA presents a unique opportunity to meet and bond with people throughout the United States and Marshall Islands; all of whom are represented at the conference. This aspect of the conference was shockingly prominent in my first few days as a first year on the mountain; everyone wants to meet you, get to know you, and remember something about you. Naturally, this leads to life changing friendships and the main purpose of this story; I asked a number of people who they have become the closest with because of CONA, outside of their own state, and why.

Libby Wuller, OK
“I have become closest friends with Tyler Brent from the MUN just because he was someone to go to and just talk. He’s a really neat person.”

Tyler Gross, MI
“Probably Cartina Carter from the Marshall Islands. She was my clerk, and I got to help her learn the procedure and work through the language barrier.”

Robert Fuson, SC
“Matt Roarty from Delaware, mainly because we shared a proposal and through as much as we talked, I found out what an awesome dude he is and he definitely is one of the guys I will want to stay in touch with after the conference.”

Severin Beckwith, SC
“Steven Bruler from Texas… he is my nemesis.”

Collette Robicheaux, AL
“Kate Munoz and Michael Black from Massachusetts. On the first night we sat around and talked, it was so fun. I haven’t seen them much since the first night but we had a good time.”

Rachel Robinson, MD
“Emily Love from Connecticut. On the first night, somehow colleges came up, and I found out she’s going to George Washington University. That’s where I want to go to, so we connected right away.”

Conner Bueche, LA
“Definitely Tyler Bishop from Georgia. He’s such a respectful man. We have a lot of the same beliefs and views, plus he’s easy to talk to.”

Matty Fishkin, CA
“Dan. I don’t know his delegation or last name, so obviously we’re not the closest, but every night I see him in my hallway and say ‘hi,’ he just brightens my day. We haven’t said more than a few words but he has made my time here really enjoyable. Also, Steven Clark from the Marshall Islands. He helped me understand a lot of why I am here and how what I say affects other people. He’s a really nice guy.”

Jacob Smitley, MI
“John Standish from Pennsylvania. I though he looked like Wolfgang Van Halen. After I told him my thought we just became good friends.”

Robert Dennehy, CT
“Aristotle from Pennsylvania. I love that kid; I talk to him every time I see him.”

Andrew Naab, OH
“Henry from Oklahoma. I mean, he’s currently wearing my bowtie. We’re roommates so I have to watch him sweat while he does P90X.”

Athie Livas, KT
“Emily from last year’s MUN. She showed me that a lot of CONA is more than learning names; it is about to strengthening bonds. That is something that is incredibly deep and can’t be manufactured anywhere else. Plus, she is a year older than me, so she gives me advice on colleges and stuff like that.”

Afiya Hemphill, DOC
“Probably Leslie from Connecticut. She is really cool. She was the first person I got close with from out of state so I have to give her props.”

Austin Vitale, CA
“Kendall McDonald from Mississippi. After sitting together throughout committee, we discovered we are the same person, except she’s a girl.”

Benjamin Blais, NM
“Holly Firlein from Delaware. We spent the governor’s conference and CONA last year together. We are the same person.”

Khlaed N-M, MI
“Amber from California. She fell asleep on my shoulder… but I don’t think she knows my name.”

Kyle Bunting, MUN
“Brandon Henken from Pennsylvania. He is just such a nice person and shares most of my views. He has been a pleasure to talk to.”

Jacob Bouck, TX
“Feras Sadig from Connecticut. I don’t really know him but he hugged me from behind.”

~ Micah Burgess, MI