For a fourth year, and the third in a row, Father Judge High School has won the the top prize in the Model United Nations competition, held last weekend in New York City.

The team consisted of students from Father Judge and North Catholic High Schools in Philadelphia and from Salesianum School in Wilmington.

"We couldn't believe it," said the Rev. John Hurley, coach of the DeSales Oblate Schools Team comprising the three high schools.

The 55 male students - 30 from Father Judge - competed against 2,300 students from more than 30 countries, including Israel, Russia, Denmark and South Africa.

To win the world championship, the Secretary-General's Award, the students placed first in all 10 individual competitions.

The team won the world title in 2007, 2006 and 2001.

During last weekend's competition, the team's status as defending champion gave members a 30-minute meeting with Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general.

In simulating the work of the U.N., the DeSales Oblate Schools Team represented China. The members debated such issues as AIDS, international terrorism, and the global food crisis.

Watch Father Judge students preparing for the Model U.N. competition at http://go.philly.com/

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Contact staff writer Lloylita Prout at 215-854-2877 or lprout@phillynews.com.