|Volume II, Number 3 - March 19, 2010
Students for Leadership in a Democratic Society
Los Angeles, CA
Santa Clara, CA
Appeal and Recognition of Jeff Harris
for JSA Summer
School are flooding in, but many students are struggling
to raise enough funds to get there in this tough economy. We
have at least 200 students who need $1,000 or more to make it to JSA
Summer School and they need your help! In this issue, we
introduce you to a few of our student leaders hoping to make it to JSA
Summer School and share examples of how JSA alumni and friends are
helping to get them there. For our LA friends, we look
forward to seeing you in April for our 75th Anniversary celebration at
our Southern California Spring State Convention. We'll also
be honoring Jeff Harris, who's served JSA for over 20 years (event
details below and
Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you for the positive impact you've had
on thousands of JSA students. If you want to share a story about Jeff,
post it on our Facebook page
or email Matt Randazzo.
to these individuals or learn about sponsoring other students by
contacting Matt Randazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 800-317-9338
School Applicants Who Need Your Help
STUDENT STORIES: Each year, JSA
more than 1,000 scholarship applications from students who want to
attend JSA Summer School. We're able to provide scholarship
support (based on merit and financial need) because of generous
donations from our alumni and friends. Here are just a few of
our students' stories (we've changed their names for privacy and there
are many more talented student leaders just like them):
Catherine is an A student in the National Honor Society from Los
Angeles and a JSA Chapter member. She plays field hockey and
spent the past few months raising money for Haitian earthquake victims
as a service project for her school. In her scholarship
application, Catherine described how she was raised by a single mother
who died last year after a long illness. She recalled being a "very
young child and walking the streets for hours on end" with her mother
who "pushed her infant brother in a stroller" as they searched for a
place to sleep. She wrote that the greatest gift her mother gave her
was the love of reading and a belief that all of her dreams could be
realized with the foundation of a strong education. Catherine
wants to go to our Princeton program and study A.P. U.S. Government
tuition is $4,500). We've given her a $750 scholarship and
she's raised $1,000 already from family and donors in her
community. She needs another $2,750 in order to be able to
Chris is the only son of a single mother who saved for 13 years so that
she could afford to move her and her son from the "gang-banging
streets" of their town to a safer city where the schools were
better. Chris now thrives at his high school where he is an
honor roll student and active member of his JSA chapter. He
wants to study Speech and Political Communication at our Princeton
program. He has no other family than his mother, who herself
grew up in a foster home, and she makes only $10,000 a year as a
department store saleswoman. We've worked with him to raise
$2,500. He needs $2,000 more to attend.
Help students like Catherine and Chris realize their dreams by donating
to our scholarship fund. To learn more about the fund,
contact Matt Randazzo at email@example.com
or at 800-317-9338.
and Tuohy scholarships help JSA students get to
Families" Support Summer School Applicants
DAVID M. COLE: At alumni events
and other JSA gatherings, there’s frequent discussion about
the "JSA family," but the concept is usually attached to the notion
that people you meet in the program as a young adult turn out to be
people you still know many years later.
But the real meaning of the JSA family happens on a daily basis in high
schools-- and living rooms-- around the country. This is the story of
the generosity of two families in Southern California who do not even
know each other and how they have changed the life of a young Los
Angeles man forever.
The first family is the Garners of Newport Beach. Craig Garner was a
JSA Southern California governor in the 1980s, while his brother Scott
was active in the program a few years later. Their father, Gerald,
served on the JSA board of trustees (a distinction Scott shares today).
After Gerald's passing more than a decade ago, Scott Garner and his
mother, Joan, established a Summer School scholarship in Gerald
Garner's name. The scholarship is for a full tuition to Stanford for a
Southern California student already involved in JSA.
The second family is the Verheidens of Pacific Palisades. Ben Verheiden
has been in JSA for three years, is the president of his chapter at
Palisades Charter High School and is a senator in the Angeles Region.
He also attended Summer School at Stanford last July.
One of Ben's classmates at Palisades Charter High School is Giovanni
Douresseau. Gio, as his friends call him, is a junior at Palisades on a
scholarship. He wanted to
participate in JSA, but confided to Ben that his family couldn't afford
for him to attend conventions or Congress. In fact, Gio told Ben, he
didn't really have a good enough set of clothes to go to a convention.
Ben told his mother, Sonja, of Gio's plight and instantly the Verheiden
family sponsored Gio's costs to attend JSA conventions and Congresses,
including buying him clothes.
Ben's love of JSA is deep and became even deeper last summer at
Stanford. He knew that Gio should do everything possible to attend a
Summer School and when Ben learned of the Gerald Garner scholarship, he
strongly urged Gio to apply for the scholarship.
In fact, Gio and Ben cooked up a way to make sure that the JSA staff
knew Gio was serious about wanting the scholarship: immediately after
the scholarship opportunity was announced, they faxed the scholarship
application into the office, e-mailed it and also had a physical copy
delivered via the U.S. Mail.
While 21 other deserving JSA'ers also applied for the Gerald Garner
Memorial Scholarship, the JSA staff awarded it to Giovanni Douresseau.
Fortunately, Gio's grandfather was able to attend Winter Congress where
the award was made in February and was able to witness the
presentation. Those attending said Gio's grandfather was "overwhelmed"
by the emotion of the moment.
"I am certain I am not overstating this," wrote Jeanne Saiza, the
teacher-advisor to the Palisades Charter High School JSA chapter, "This
summer will change the course of [Gio's] life."
Sonja Verheiden agreed. "Knowing Gio, the change in him has already
begun," Verheiden said shortly after the scholarship was awarded. "The
validation by JSA that he is considered worthy of this provides him
with a positive judgment of his own abilities. Nobody can say that Gio
won't be successful. If anyone does, he'll know better than to listen
But wait, as the folks on late-night TV commercials say, there's more:
two of the other students who applied for the Gerald Garner Memorial
Scholarship have been given half-ride scholarships that will come from
the Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation of Santa Barbara, a long-time
supporter of JSA and Summer School. Paris Vaughn of John Burroughs High
School in Burbank and Telma Menendez of Los Angeles County's Lynwood
High School each will receive half scholarships and will now receive
extensive help from JSA staff to help them fund-raise the other half in
order to also attend Stanford Summer School this July.
many students on the
mainland and in the
territories, Summer School
is a game-changing opportunity that will
impact their life trajectory."
20 Years of Excellence in the U.S. Territories
Marking the 20th anniversary of JSA’s partnership with the
Department of the Interior to recruit and enroll outstanding young
leaders from the territories and trust areas to JSA Summer Schools, the
department this year has added the Republic of the Marshall Islands to
the program. This generous grant provides full scholarships and travel
to four students each from the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa,
Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Federated States of
Micronesia, and now the Marshall Islands. While the grant covers a
total of 28 students, the momentum of those kids brings Summer School
to more than 100 students annually from the territories and trust
areas. Since its inception, this partnership has educated more than
Program Director Elliott Nguyen and I recently traveled to Guam, the
Northern Mariana Islands, Palau and Micronesia to recruit an
outstanding class of scholars for the 2010 Summer School and to reach
Congressional Delegate Gregorio "Kilili" Sablan hosted us at his
district office and worked tirelessly to help raise
additional support. The Northern Marianas legislature pledged $50,000
in scholarships and Dr. Rita Sablan, commissioner of education, will
fully fund two additional students ($14,000 with travel). Lt. Gov. Eloy
Inos, whose three daughters attended JSA Summer School, also pledged
his support of the program and noted its significance in the Northern
Mariana Islands. In Guam, the Department of Labor pledged 10 full
scholarships for students enrolled in the Upward Bound program, a
federally funded education program that prepares high school students
for success in college and career.
One of those Upward Bound students has a touching personal story.
Originally from Yap (part of Micronesia), this young man left his
family's home to live in Guam so he
could attend a high school that would prepare him for college and his
career. He enrolled his sophomore year and immediately sought out the
Upward Bound program. This young man is wonderfully committed to
and is laser focused on college. For many students on the mainland
and in the territories, Summer School is a game-changing opportunity
that will put them on the path to success.
The JSA staff is proud that we train such a diverse cross section of
young people to be active citizens and leaders in their communities.
Matthew Randazzo if you have any
about the U.S. Department of the Interior grant program.
JSA Alumni to celebrate
Jeff Harris and JSA's
JSA Celebrates 75th Anniversary
in re-connecting with JSA or reliving your convention days?
Join us as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary and recognize
Harris’ twenty years of service to the organization.
The anniversary brunch will be held at the Southern
State convention in Los Angeles on April 18. The event will
student-alumni debate moderated by Jeff Harris and the chance to see
thousands of JSA students in action during the convention and annual
elections. There's no better way to reconnect with JSA than
one of our programs. Brunch tickets are $50 each, with
benefit the Junior State of America’s scholarship fund.
Month's JSA Poll
OR NO: Will Congress pass a
health care reform bill this month?
has invested months debating and rewriting a bill that the democrats
will try to get passed this month. Do you think it will finally happen?
What do you say? Answer
month's newsletter by: Dave
Viotti, David M. Cole, Jeff Dunn, Alanna Lee, Matthew Randazzo
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