JSA Now! Newsletter
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Volume II, Number 9 – Nov. 18, 2010

A Newsletter Highlighting Activities of JSA – Junior State of America

Upcoming Events

George Shultz Award, Alumni Brunch, Annual Student-Alumni Debate

Santa Clara, Calif.
Nov. 20, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Fall State

Parsippany, N.J.
Nov. 20-21, 2010

Midwest Fall State

Madison, Wis.
Nov. 20-21, 2010

Northeast Fall State

Nov. 20-21, 2010

Northern California
Fall State

Santa Clara, Calif.
Nov. 20-21, 2010

Pacific Northwest
Fall State

Bellevue, Wash.
Nov. 20-21, 2010

Southern California
Fall State

Los Angeles
Nov. 20-21, 2010

Texas Fall State

Nov. 20-21, 2010

Jeff Harris
JSA CEO Jeff Harris

November: The Busiest Month

BY JEFF HARRIS: With the mid-term elections behind us, political junkies start to have campaign withdrawals — we are cut off cold turkey from the endless stream of political ads. While we criticized the viciously negative ads, many of us secretly got a “buzz” from a clever slam on candidates that we disliked. Also gone is the “fix” from analyzing poll numbers. I’m not normally a “numbers guy,” but I can break down favorable/non-favorable ratings, factor in a poll’s margin of error and make fairly accurate predictions. (I was right on about 80 percent of my predictions ... how did you do?)

As the election cycle ends, activity through JSA ramps up to a fever pitch. This November is one of our most active months, with 10 overnight conventions and two exciting alumni events.

Our luncheon and political discussion with Warren Beatty and Ina Jaffe at the home of board fundraising chair Rachel Stern was a big success and incredibly fun. Next up for alumni is a luncheon honoring former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz. Also, November in JSA means Fall State season! This year 5,000 politically active JSA members will debate and discuss issues under the theme “Energizing America: Capturing the Winds of Change.”

JSA is launching a new brand this month. Our “JSA: Be the people” logo will be showing up on our website and promotional materials. “Be the people” not only ties JSA to the core principles on which our nation was founded, but also challenges JSA members to use the skills and knowledge they learn to actively engage themselves in civic life and positively impact their community.

More of our members should follow up the discussions they have at chapter meetings and conventions by writing to their elected officials, posting their opinions on the Internet and even making comments at city council and school board meetings. We’ll be helping our members prove that “democracy is not a spectator sport” by showing them how they can participate in civic affairs to make a difference on the issues they care about.

Stay tuned over the next several months to as we introduce civic-skills training activities and find opportunities for our students to work in politics and government. We’ll be inviting alumni and friends of JSA to help in these new initiatives, so if you’d like to engage with a JSA chapter in your area and help our members “be the people” who are actively involved in civic affairs, please let me know.

This post-election flurry of activity in JSA should remind us all that our civic responsibilities don’t end after we leave the voting booth. We all need to stay informed in order to hold the winners from election day accountable by reminding them of their campaign promises and rejecting inflammatory rhetoric that supplants real public policy solutions.

Rather than waiting until the polls open to express our opinions, our democracy works better when each of us vow to “be the people” who stay engaged between election cycles.

Warren Beatty, Ina Jaffe
Actor/activist Warren Beatty, right, smiles at a comment made by radio journalist Ina Jaffe, left. Photo by Noelle Swan Gilbert.

Beatty/Jaffe Fundraising Event Big Success

BY DAVID M. COLE: Insights and details about political campaigns and politicians were shared by actor and activist Warren Beatty and radio journalist Ina Jaffe at a JSA fundraiser held Nov. 6 in Los Angeles.

While those details must remain unwritten because the remarks were off-the-record, suffice it to say that Beatty spoke of politicians ranging from presidents — John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton — to governors — Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown — while Jaffe shared her experiences of the Nov. 2 election night covering the campaign of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in Las Vegas and gave her opinions on NPR’s firing of commentator Juan Williams.

A crowd of almost 100 attended the luncheon fundraiser, which was held in the backyard of JSA board member and fundraising committee chairwoman Rachel Kaganoff Stern in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The event was a benefit for the JSA Scholarship Fund and raised more than $42,000, all of which will be used to send deserving students to JSA summer schools starting in June.

Jaffe, a national correspondent for NPR who contributes frequently to shows such as “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” and is based in Los Angeles, moderated the session, tossing Beatty questions and reigning him in when his answers drifted.

The duo held forth for almost 45 minutes and then took 20 minutes of questions from the audience. Their talk was preceded by remarks by Kaganoff Stern, JSA CEO Jeff Harris, Southern Calif. JSA Gov. Matt Saunders and Downey High School JSA Chapter President Andrea Lomeli.

A special treat for those in attendance was the presence of actresses Marsha Wallace (“The Simpsons,” “The Bob Newhart Show”), who said she is “a big supporter of JSA,” and Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right,” “Julia”), who is the mother of JSA chapter leader Ben Beatty and wife of Warren Beatty.

Event sponsors included Kaganoff Stern and her husband, Eric Stern, Jeff Harris, JSA Foundation Board President Alex Evans and his wife, Kitty Guptill, JSA Foundation Trustee Lenny Mendonca, his wife Christine Mendonca and their business Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., the law firm Kleen, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP, Laurie Ackerman, Marty Barash and Lisa Bossetti Barash, the law firm Landau, Gottfried & Berger, the Archie family, the Higgins family, David & Marianna Fisher, Anne Raby Gates, Foundation Director June Thurber Paine and her husband Garrett Paine, Foundation Trustee Estelle Saltzman, and Dr. and Mrs. Saunders. In-kind donations were received from Rosenthal Malibu Estate Wines, Town & Country Event Rentals and photographer Noelle Swan Gilbert.

Donate NowHelp promote democracy

How Can I Help JSA?

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. or (800) 317-9338.
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George Shultz
George Shultz, in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations, will receive JSA award in Santa Clara.

Shultz award, student-alum debate this Saturday

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz will deliver the keynote speech this Saturday for a combined JSA Fall State and alumni crowd in Santa Clara, Calif. The speech is just one of three events being held with adults and students at the Northern California JSA’s annual autumn meeting.

In addition to the remarks by Shultz, who will receive the JSA 75th Anniversary Distinguished Public Service Award, on Saturday there will be the annual student-alumni debate and on Sunday the JSA Foundation’s board of trustees will hold its annual retreat.

The debate will revolve around the question, “Resolved, that teacher compensation be directly linked to student performance.”

The pro side will be argued by Alum Paul Hrabal and student Jay Moody, while the con side will be taken by Alum Martin Barash and student Mallory Craig-Karim. The “moderator with an iron fist” will be JSA CEO Jeff Harris.

Shultz, a longtime educator, economist and businessman, served as President Reagan’s foreign affairs emissary from 1982-1989, and before that held various cabinet-level positions in the Nixon Administration, including U.S. Treasury Secretary, U.S. Secretary of Labor and Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available from Matthew Randazzo at or (202) 591-3732; trustees who have not yet signed up to attend either the Saturday or Sunday events should also contact Randazzo.

JSA is also planning to wind down its 75th Anniversary year with an alumni and trustee brunch to be held in conjunction with the JSA Winter Congress in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2011. Staff, volunteers and students are angling for “a big speaker” for the event.

Taproot logo

Taproot Gives JSA Annual Report Grant

As part of the push to diversify JSA’s funding sources, Chicago’s Taproot Foundation and the JSA Foundation said late last month that they had entered into a service grant agreement, with Taproot supplying pro bono services to assist JSA in developing an annual report.

Taproot values the grant at $45,000.

“Taproot will be supporting JSA’s civic education mission by helping us tell our story to the broader education and philanthropic communities,” said Jeff Harris, JSA’s chief executive officer. “We really appreciate the help that the Taproot volunteers will provide us in the creation of our 2009-2010 report.”

A nonprofit with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., Taproot provides infrastructure and training for professionals to offer pro bono services in marketing, design, technology, management or strategic planning resources to non-profit organizations.

Taproot’s Service Grant program has awarded more than 1,300 pro bono projects to an excess of 1,000 nonprofits in need, which amounts to over 780,000 hours of pro bono services valued at more than $63 million.

This is JSA’s third Taproot service grant — the first was a strategic-plan results analysis and the second was a competitive analysis.

The Taproot volunteer team will be led by San Francisco art director and creative consultant Jacqueline John, and will include Sable Mi, a Bay Area marketing executive, Andrew Mitchell of Castro Valley, San Francisco marketing executive Sarah B. Lartigue, San Francisco public relations executive Connie Perez, Michael Silva, a graphic designer who works in Palo Alto, and San Francisco photographer Albert Bray.

Cindy Chen
JSA Alum Cindy Chen

JSA Alumni Profile: Cindy Chen

• JSA leadership roles
Montville Township Chapter, New Jersey; Mid-Atlantic regional director of policy, director of debate (’92-’95); Georgetown SS (’93); counselor at Princeton Symposium, ’98.

• Education, jobs, residences, family
Graduated Duke in 1999, worked for Sabre in Dallas as a financial analyst and Lazard Freres in New York City as a marketing associate in asset management. Then I went to University of Pennsylvania Law School and graduated ’04. I’ve been living in New York City working as a corporate lawyer at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York City since then, and I specialize in mergers and acquisitions.

• Hobbies
Duke basketball (here’s hoping to another national championship in 2011!), dance classes at the Broadway Dance Center, cooking Sunday night dinner with my friends.

• Last book read
“Half the Sky,” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Everyone should read it. It’s incredibly illuminating and fundamentally changed the way I thought about foreign policy.

• Last accomplishment
I’ve survived this long as an M&A lawyer at a top law firm — getting through every day is an accomplishment. Just kidding. I love living my life in NYC and have the world’s best friends and family.

• Why I do what I do
I actually never thought I wanted to be a lawyer — had no idea what they did — but wanted to go to law school. Some part about learning the law really appealed to me. I fell into my practice quite serendipitously as it merged well with my previous business background — and it’s turned out to be interesting and challenging.

• Favorite JSA memory
Ironically enough, there is a core group of seven-ten from JSA who are still close friends of mine who all live in NYC. People ask how we know each other and we can never figure out how to answer them in two sentences or less. They ask if we went to high school together. No. They ask if we lived in the same state. Not necessarily. They’re totally puzzled by how we’re still so close, but they truly are lifetime friends. So, my favorite JSA memories all involve them every day then and every day now. My favorite high school JSA memory — probably my 18th birthday which coincidentally fell on Spring State — and being serenaded by Bergen Catholic boys with, “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” in the ballroom. My favorite JSA memory after high school? September 2010 when Rachel Derkits (Governor ’94-’95) and Jason Gelman (Director of Debate ’95-’96) got married in Sonoma, Calif., and it was a huge JSA reunion with about 15 of us — nothing like lifelong friendships to make a memory last.

• What I learned in JSA that I still use today
My friends then are my friends now — and they are without a doubt the most precious thing I took from JSA. But other than that, I am eternally grateful that JSA taught me how to organize my thoughts, how to present my opinions and how to speak up for myself at an early age. It taught me huge amounts of responsibility — and life as an adult requires the ability to coordinate logistics and multi-task — all which JSA taught me!

Karen Prosser
Updates about JSA
alumni from Karen Prosser
Are you an alum?

Karen’s Corner

BY KAREN PROSSER: Sad day: Richard and I gathered with hundreds of other mourners at the funeral for Pat Foster on Tuesday. Pat was the wife of T. Jack Foster Jr. — long-time JSA trustee (’80s and ’90s) and former president of the board. Their daughter, Lee Foster, is a JSA Summer School alum (Sac State ’72) and was JSA Stateswoman of the Year 1975. Lee also worked for the foundation a few years back. Pat Foster was an absolutely wonderful human being and we will miss her.

More sad news: I just learned that long-time JSA Summer School speech teacher and dear friend, Ray Jones, passed away last summer in Provo, Utah. Ray taught summer school speech at U.C. Davis, Stanford and U.T. Austin and was a darling man. A consummate actor, he charmed the students with his summer school talent show performances as Charlie Brown. I loved Ray Jones and always looked forward to working with him each summer. He was a phenomenal speech teacher and touched the lives of many Summer School alumni.

Junior Statesbaby: A baby boy born to Dayna Schocke Chung and husband, Jay, three weeks ago. He joins a big sister and big brother. Dayna is a JSA Stanford Summer School alum (’94) and was Midwest Mayor (’95-96).

Meese’s pieces: Had a great conversation with Dana Meese last week. Dana is the daughter of JSA Alum Edwin Meese III (Montezuma Summer School 1948). In the Meese family tradition, Dana attended the JSA Summer School at U.C. Davis in 1983 and came back to work for us as an resident assistant at the Stanford Summer School. She is married and has a son, Alec, and a daughter, Olivia.

Dana’s brother, Michael Meese, attended the 1976 JSA Summer School session at U.C. Davis and came back to work for us as a speakers’ program director in 1987 at Georgetown, and is now a career officer in the U.S. Army. Mike got a graduate degree at Princeton University and has been a close colleague of Gen. David Petraeus; he was a key advisor to the Petraeus during the Iraqi Surge and is now serving Petraeus in Afghanistan. Two of Mike’s three children, Allison and Brian, are also JSA Summer School alums. Allison graduates in June from the University of Connecticut and Brian is a cadet at West Point. Mike met his wife, Ramona, in the JSA chapter at Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Calif.

Election 2010 news: Congratulations to JSA Trustee Janice Rutherford who was elected to California’s San Bernardino board of Supervisors. We are so proud of you, Janice.

Prize winner: A shout-out to Demetri Argyropoulos (Georgetown SS ’93) who has been awarded the 2010 Gusi Peace Prize. The award recognizes the brilliant examples of those working toward the attainment of peace and respect for human life and dignity. Demetri will be honored with the award for the exemplary contribution to peace and human rights in economics and leadership. The award ceremony will occur in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 24. Detailed information on the Gusi Peace Prize is available on the web site, http://www.gusipeaceprizeinternational.org/ and Demetri’ profile is there as well, http://www.gusipeaceprizeinternational.org/2010-awardees.html.

– This month's newsletter by: David M. Cole, Jeff Harris and Karen Prosser.