JSA Now! Newsletter
Junior Statesmen Foundation Donate Now!
Volume 1, Number 2 - December 9, 2009

JSA Announces Summer Classes Just in Time for New Year!


Upcoming Events

Winter Congress

Washington, D.C.
Feb. 5-7, 2010
DoubleTree Crystal City

Feb. 12-14, 2010
Midwest, Ohio River Valley, Southeast
Marriott Crystal Gateway

Feb. 26-28, 2010
DoubleTree Crystal City

Sacramento, CA
Feb. 6-7, 2010
Northern California
Sheraton Grand Sacramento

Long Beach, CA
Feb. 13-14, 2010
Hilton Long Beach

Dallas, TX
Feb. 20-21, 2010
Crowne Plaza Dallas

Portland, OR
Feb. 20-21, 2010
Pacific Northwest
DoubleTree Lloyd Center

Dave Viotti
CEO, Dave Viotti,
challenges you to
take a civics quiz

Active Citizenship Then and Now

DAVE VIOTTI: I just got back from two great, student-run Fall State Conventions in Florida and California. In Florida, U.S. Senator Robert Graham encouraged our JSA students to move beyond classroom discussion about policy and into their local communities where they can affect real change. Graham's new book, America, the Owner's Manual, provides a good roadmap for each of us to help make democracy work for all people.

JSA has adopted the theme "active citizenship" for our 75th year. This is really going back to JSA's roots, where student leaders were engaged the political process even while they were in high school. JSA Alum Stanley Mazor, for example, was a registered legislative advocate for the young people of California when he was JSA Governor in 1958 (he went on to co-design the world's first microprocesor). Expect to see more of our current JSA leaders at city hall with this renewed focus on active citizenship.

Several of you replied to my previous post about the number of American adults who failed the National Civic Literacy Exam and asked for the link to the exam. Our democracy depends on informed citizens. Take the quiz and see how you do (remember, you're always welcome to join us at JSA events to refresh your civics knowledge).

In JSA News
Students at the Mid-Atlantic Fall State
JSA students asses American
influence at Fall State
conventions across the nation

Fall State Attendance Rises Across the Country

The majority of JSA jurisdictions reported a rapid rise in Fall State Convention attendance this year with the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and Southern California Junior States leading the way.

"We are off to the best start in the history of the Northeast," said NE Governor, Dan Hoffman, who presided over JSA's largest convention which attracted over 1000 students and teachers.

Over 4,000 students nationwide attended one of the ten JSA Fall State Conventions held across the country. This year's convention theme, "Beyond the Horizon: Assessing American Influence," set the tone for a weekend of great debates, thought talks, and simulations.

Each convention also attracted a number of high profile speakers.

Former Senator, Governor, and Florida legend, Bob Graham addressed a packed room of students at the Southeast Fall State about the importance of good citizenship. Mr. Zhang Yun, Consulate General of China in Los Angeles, spoke about the necessity of bilateral relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China at the Los Angeles Fall State, and the keynote address delivered by controversial Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, at the Arizona Fall State was covered by Phoenix Fox affiliate KUTP.

Click on JSA Today for more information about this year's Fall State Conventions.

Donate NowHelp promote democracy

What's Up With the "Donate Now" Button?

Annually, thousands of JSA alumni and friends donate their time, talent, and treasure to support the program. Please contact Matthew Randazzo, Chief Growth Strategy Officer, if you wish to volunteer, reconnect with the program, or make a gift to JSA. mrandazzo@jsa.org or 800.317.9338. Read More

Summer Student
JSA announces course
offerings for the 70th
Annual Summer School

Announcing the 2010 Summer School Courses

JSA Summer School: JSA is proud to announce its summer 2010 program offerings. We continue our long-time partnership with Georgetown, Princeton, and Stanford universities to offer a three-week residential summer school experience. 

Students enroll in one college level government or speech course that is supplemented by JSA’s signature Congressional Workshop. Summer 2010 course offerings include: AP U.S. Government, AP Macroeconomics, International Relations, War & Diplomacy, Speech & Political Communication, Constitutional Law, and Media & Politics. Additionally, we have several special programs including an extended four-week AP U.S. History program at Princeton, a Freshman Scholars program for rising high school freshmen, and the JSA Diplomat program in Beijing, China! 

Students in the JSA Diplomat program will earn college credit and take courses in Modern Chinese History & Politics and Beginner’s Chinese. Our summer school programs are the pinnacle of the JSA experience and attract hundreds of student leaders annually. We are committed to getting JSA members to summer school. To that end, we are focusing our scholarship funds for our 75th Anniversary in support of our dedicated JSA members by offering them a JSA member tuition rate of $3,750.  Hopefully, this will make summer school more affordable for JSA members during these challenging economic times.  Click here to nominate an outstanding student for summer school or contribute to our scholarship fund.

Weeklong leadership institutes complete JSA’s summer offerings. They include: The Gene Burd Institute on Media & Politics (UCLA), generously endowed by alumnus Professor Gene Burd; Energy & the Environment (Stanford); Texas Institute on Leadership & Politics (UT Austin); Northeast Institute on National Security (TBD); and the Arizona Institute on State & Local Government (Arizona State). These programs give students unparalleled access to elected officials and leaders in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. To learn more about our programs, visit www.jsa.org/summer.

Holly McKee
Stanford Summer School
Alum and Hume-Fogg
 Academy Magnet student,
Holly McKee, explains
how she got hooked on JSA.

Why I Started a JSA Chapter

BY HOLLY MCKEE: One fateful day this past April, I opened my mailbox to find a brochure for the Junior Statesmen Summer Programs. The further I read through this pamphlet, the more I was determined to apply.

I’m an incurable political nerd, so this was a dream. After deciding on spending a sizeable chunk of my senior summer on the sun-drenched Stanford campus and on enrolling in Constitutional Law, I quickly submitted my application.

A mere two weeks later, I received a rather bulky packet from JSA that informed me of my acceptance. It included a nice little handwritten note from Carter McCoy, the NorCal and Stanford Summer School Program Director. I distinctly recall squealing like a Jonas fan and then proceeding to mass text my friends.

Two months later, I boarded a plane to San Francisco and immediately fell in love with the Junior State program. After sitting in the dorm lounge for ten minutes, about thirty people had broken into a water-boarding debate, which seamlessly morphed into a presidential evaluation.

Those three weeks cemented my irrational love for the Supreme Court and case law, brought some rather exceptional people into my life, and changed my outlook on the responsibilities of citizenship.

During the program, we were constantly being pressured by our two Governors (our lovely Liz Litteral included), Lt. Governors, and various Cabinet members and other elected officials to start chapters at our high schools if we didn’t already have them.

Being from Tennessee, I came under the most ferocious of attacks and pressure to establish what would become the second chapter in the entire state. I blew the idea off in California, rationalizing that I had far too much on my plate as it was and that I did not want to commit academic suicide in my final weeks of high school.

The moment I arrived back in Nashville, an insatiable yearning to return to JSA became more and more apparent everyday and eventually, as the Facebook group so eloquently words, I would put my nametag on and cry myself to sleep.

I considered attending conventions as an independent delegate, but changed my mind when a couple of my friends expressed interest in the program. Within a week, we had a group on Facebook with 45 members, the AP US History teacher as our sponsor, and approval from the administration.

We now have constitution, tax-paid members, and have attended our first Fall State Convention. We can’t wait for Winter Congress.

Karen Prosser
Monthly updates about
"JSA Babies" and other alumni
news from Karen Prosser.
Are you an alum?
Send in Your Updates

Karen's Korner

BY KAREN PROSSER: Great to hear from David Benzaquen (NES JSADavid Benzaquen Governor 2001-2002) who graduated this past May from Milano:  The New School for Management and Urban Policy with a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management.  He is the Campaigns Coordinator for Farm Sanctuary - the nation's leading animal protection organization.  Farm Sanctuary rescues farm animals from abuse and provides them lifelong sanctuary at shelters in Western New York and in Northern California.  For more information visit www.farmsanctuary.org. 

Roxanne Forde (1979 Junior State Davis Summer School) emailed to say hello after reading about the JSA 75th Anniversary Celebration.  "Seeing your face and your daughter Amy's picture reminded me that you all are a part of who I am-- brave, strong, civic minded, not afraid to speak my mind and insist on democracy always, even when it's not popular." 

Roxanne, who received a BA in Applied Psychology from Cal State and an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from CUNY, is a Regional Compliance Manager with American Life & General Insurance Company (ALGICO).

Kevin Gross (1979 Junior State Davis Summer School, JSA Treasurer 1980-81) and his wife, Lisa, are celebrating the August 2009 birth of their second child, a daughter named Sydney.  Sydney joins her three year old brother, Daniel.   

Kevin recently joined the Chevron legal department after 10 years with the SEC Division of Enforcement, and is looking forward to catching up with all the JSA alums in the East Bay of Northern California.

Dear readers, my last Corner did not do justice in an entry on JSA alum Jay Maguire reaching the grand old age of 40.  Jay emailed us some new info and I am happy to make amends by including an update in this issue. Jay Maguire

Jay and his fiance, Leslie, are officially engaged and hope to tie the knot in June 2010.  Congrats to Jay and welcome to the JSA family, Leslie!  

In addition to being a big time lobbyist in Texas, Jay is the acting Executive Director for the proposed Texas Center for Translational Medicine, and head of the JSA alumni committee which, among other things, planned the 75th Anniversary Inauguration Reception in Washington last January, which was a huge success. 

Debby Jasgur Mendelsohn (1983 USC Junior State Symposium) writes that her children, 8th grader Emelie, now known as "Mel" and 7th grader Doug are thriving and excelling in school, scouts, band, and being the ultimate authority on the Twilight series of books and movies. 

Debby has found a way to keep up with her family and maintain a professional career as a consultant focusing on environmental legislative policy and governmental affairs.  She volunteers as the Family Readiness Group leader for her husband Bill's National Guard Unit and serves as the lead volunteer for the California National Guard's Army Division, helping Soldiers and their families prepare for the challenges of deployments and other emergencies.  You go, girl!

Petti Matila (1999 Junior State Northwestern Summer School), from American Samoa, recently reflected upon her summer school experiences with us. 

"It was intimidating at first for an island girl at the age of 15 to travel far away from home to the Junior State Summer School.   Experiencing college life first-hand, meeting outstanding students from all across the nation, writing speeches, and participating in Congressional simulations are all wonderful memories from my JSA summer program experience."   

Many JSA alumni from American Samoa, including Petti, have assumed leadership roles in local government as well as church and community organizations. 

"Little did I know how my Summer School courses would play a vital role in my future career.  I worked for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, and currently serve as an Economic Growth Specialist /ARRA Compliance Analyst for the Economic Stimulus & Recovery Office, a division of the American Samoa Governor’s Office.” 

Last summer Petti and two other Summer School alumnae were on-island recruiters for Junior State Summer School in American Samoa.  Petti hopes to return to Washington, D.C. next year to attend graduate school. 

Happy Holidays to all of My JSA Family and Friends!

That's it for this issue of Karen's Corner.  Holiday Cards are beginning to arrive and with them, the great family updates.  Have a great holiday season and let me know what you are up to so I can include your news in the next Corner— kprosser@jsa.org

--This month's newsletter by: Dave Viotti, Jeff Dunn, Alanna Lee, Karen Prosser, Matthew Randazzo