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Vol. II, No. 10 – Dec. 16, 2010 | The Alumni Newsletter Highlighting Activities of JSA – Junior State of America
The Top 10 JSA Highlights of 2010
jeff harris Happy Holidays to you and your families! The end of the year also signals the beginning of the “top 10” list season. Not to be left out of the trend, here’s a top 10 list of JSA highlights for 2010. If you think I missed something or want to reorder the list – let me know via email:

10. Military officials enlighten JSAers at “Af-Pak” conference focused on the war in Afghanistan.

9. JSA revamps website look and feel

8. JSA questions author of Arizona’s immigration legislation in addition to Pima County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at Arizona Institute.

7. California Youth Summit Partnership with the Endowment for California Leadership, YMCA Youth and Government and Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project.

6. National conference at JSA’s birthplace builds leaders; helps teacher/advisors.

5. Watchung Regional High Chapter wins JSA Civic Impact Award.

4. Jeff Harris selected as new CEO (my personal highlight of the year!).

3. Prominent speakers at JSA events included: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan, former Secretary of State George Shultz and activist/actor Warren Beatty.

2. JSA’s first international program, JSA Diplomats, held in Beijing.

1. “JSA. Be The People” new branding and logo is unveiled.

Keeping with the holiday spirit, the start of the new year will also ring in the re-launch of the JSA Alumni Association. I tell people all the time that the JSA alumni network runs through the corridors of power in the fields of government, business, law, academia and media ... we are everywhere.

By reconnecting alumni, a revamped JSA Alumni Association will highlight the impact that JSA has had over the decades and perhaps introduce you to JSA alum in your field of work or area of the country. It also will give JSA alumni and friends a chance to get together at social events, tell old JSA stories, meet and interact with current JSA members, catch up on recent events and just have some fun.

Thanks to the efforts and support of new Board Trustee Paul Hrabal, you’ll be getting more information early next year as we increase our alumni outreach. We’ll be looking for regional Alumni Association Coordinators and I figure that if you are reading this far into the Alumni Newsletter, you are probably a good candidate ... let me know if you are interested in helping out.

JSA is one of the many civic education organizations that are a part of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. This group advocates for the inclusion and enhancement of civic education curriculum throughout the country and reminds us that “there are three essential “C”s at the heart of education in the United States: preparation for success in College, Career, and Citizenship” The campaign has started a petition drive to urge lawmakers to “take action now to strengthen and improve civic learning (civics, history, economics, geography, service learning linked to the classroom) policies, standards, assessments and funding.” I hope you will take a look at the link below and consider signing the petition.

Fall States Host 5,000 JSA’ers
JSA students at Northeast Fall State JSA’S ANNUAL RITES of autumn — the Fall State conventions — went off without a hitch the second and third weekends in November. More than 5,000 students at 10 conventions met, heard keynote addresses, held thought-provoking debates and had some fun.

The nationwide theme for Fall State 2010 was “Capturing the Winds of Change,” and outside speakers ranged from former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz to U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), to Mike Wilson (founder of the Cincinnati Tea Party), to Salman Ahmad (the lead singer of the rock band Junoon, often called “the U2 of the Muslim world”).

In addition, these Fall States pioneered the new concept of the “Competitive Debate.” Rather than students in the audience judging the outcome of a debate, this new method has teacher-advisors judge, allowing both expert and novice speakers to compete head-on, giving the novices experience they might not otherwise have gained.

Another innovation this year was the Southern California Junior State’s use of mobile devices to distribute the convention agenda — any student with an Internet connection could easily access the agenda without the cost or resource-depletion of a printed agenda. The state is currently developing dedicated Apple iPad and iPhone applications to handle this chore — and other JSA chapter tasks — in the future.

Southeast Fall State delegates became deeply involved in real world politics with a “Letter Writing Block,” where JSA students discussed hot issues such as gay marriage and education reform and then wrote letters to members of Congress, which were mailed by the Southeast Junior State to the respective offices. Students also held a “Penny Wars” fundraiser to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots to help underprivileged kids.

The Northern California Fall State included a focus on activism under the theme “Save Our Schools,” a robust political fair with more than a dozen organizations and a newly revamped communications department that is putting a heavier emphasis on civic engagement and public interaction through public relations and marketing as well as managing the Northstar statewide newspaper.

Of course, it was not all hard work and no play: on Saturday evening the Northeast Junior State’s Staten Island Tech debaters faced off against New Rochelle Tech debaters for a hilarious discussion on “Resolved, the rent is too damn high,” a lighthearted resolution referencing the New York fringe “The Rent is Too Damn High” political party. With speakers both silly and solemn, the debate perfectly captured the simultaneously energetic and serious mood of the convention.

The Northeast convention hosted 1000 JSA’ers, while Southern California had 500 students on Nov. 13-14 in Irvine and 700 students on Nov. 20-21 in Los Angeles.

Friends, Alumni Hear George Shultz Speak
George Shultz speaks to JSA ALUMNI OF THE JSA program from all over the country descended upon Santa Clara, Calif., in November to witness a true statesman of our times receive a JSA award, attend a convivial brunch and watch the annual alumni-student debate.

About 50 alumni and friends of JSA attended the speech by former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, who was given the JSA 75th Anniversary Distinguished Public Service Award on Nov. 21, which was held in conjunction with the Northern California Junior State’s Fall State convention.

Shultz used a combination of government experience and political inspiration in order to motivate those in attendance to become engaged in local, state and national government. Northern California JSA Gov. Jay Moody said, “Hearing Secretary Shultz’s comments on active leadership and accountability was inspiring.”

The Shultz speech was followed by a brunch, which included a question-and-answer session about the future of JSA moderated by former JSA CEO David Viotti and JSA Trustee Chairman Mike McCurry.

A highlight of the alumni day was the annual debate, which this year asked the question, “Resolved, that teacher compensation be directly linked to student performance.” The pro side was argued by Alum Paul Hrabal and student Jay Moody, while the con side was taken by Alum Martin Barash and student Mallory Craig-Karim. In addition to the many alumni and students who stepped forward to argue the question, a teacher-advisor or two also brought their opinions.

The day was wrapped up with a no-host dinner held at a local restaurant.

The JSA board of trustees also held its annual retreat on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. A featured speaker at that event was Joseph Kahne, director of the Civic Engagement Research Group at Mills College in Oakland.

In other JSA alumni news, the group is 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. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available from Matthew Randazzo at or (202) 591-3732.

Teacher-Advisor Named JSA Trustee
New JSA Trustee Dan Hudkins THE NEWEST MEMBER of the JSA board of trustees brings a wealth of experience in areas most of his colleagues might find foreign: technology, teaching, finance and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

Dan Hudkins joined the board at its meeting in November in Santa Clara. Hudkins is on the faculty at The Harker School in Saratoga, Calif., and has been the JSA teacher-advisor at Harker since he joined the school in 2003. He was one of the founding teacher-fellows at the Montezuma Conference of 2006. Fall State was his 22nd consecutive convention as a T-A. At Harker, Hudkins is the director of instructional technology and information technology service and support; he also teaches ethics and is the assistant coach of varsity softball at the school. Further, he is a member of the Educational Collaborators consulting group.

After a 20-year career in business, including a stint as vice president of a packaging company and national reseller manager for a manufacturer of industrial computers, Hudkins became certified in secondary social studies and secondary English in Maine in 1995. After teaching English, he became the district technology coordinator for New Hampshire’s Sunapee School District in 1996. He was honored with the Technology Innovation Award by the New Hampshire chapter of the International Society for Technology in Education and was New Hampshire Technology Coordinator of the Year in 2001. In his spare time, Hudkins rides and restores vintage 1970s motorcycles and has visited 47 states in his travels. He’s married with two children.

2011 Summer Programs Enrollment Begins
WHILE SUMMER MAY seem to be in the far-off future for most, JSA students know that now is the time to start thinking about Summer School. JSA opened up registration for the 2011 summer schools last month and is anticipating another high-quality year.

In 2011, JSA will offer three-week summer programs at Princeton and Stanford and two three-week programs at Georgetown. The JSA Diplomat Program, which runs for 3½ weeks, will be offered in its second year in Beijing, China.

Elective courses will include Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics, Constitutional law, International Relations, Speech and Political Communication, Advanced Placement Macroeconomics, Media and Politics and Advanced Placement U.S. History, along with the popular Congressional Workshop. Additionally, JSA will again offer its “freshman scholars” program, which introduces incoming ninth-graders to a college atmosphere.

Classes on all campuses meet six days a week, Monday-Saturday. At Princeton and Stanford, each course meets for a total of 85 hours (including Congressional Workshop) and the A.P. U.S. history course at Princeton meets for 160 hours. At Georgetown, class meets for 100 hours.

JSA will again offer three- and four-day summer institutes in 2011 — the Arizona Institute on Leadership and Politics, the Gene Burd Institute on Los Angeles Media and Politics, the California Leadership Institute and the Institute on Leadership and National Security in New Jersey.

JSA summer programs are transformative; if you know a high school student who would benefit from one of the programs, please introduce them to it by visiting the web site at, by e-mailing or by calling (800) 334-5353.

Karen’s Corner
Karen Prosser BY KAREN PROSSER: Greetings and good wishes to you, dear readers, as we enter another holiday season.

Roommates: I received a wonderful email last week from Ted Vestal. Ted was, for many years, a very popular government faculty member at the Georgetown Summer School. He has a new book on Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia coming out in January 2011 ( I have such great memories of working with Ted — he is a true gentleman with a great Southern accent. Hearing from him reminded me the infamous faculty party/barbecue we had at Larry Guillemette’s house (JSA East Coast program director and Summer School speakers program director and the most phenomenal party host). It was about 150 degrees outside and we were all drenched in sweat as we gathered on the patio. We finally gathered inside hugging the air conditioner.

In his email, Ted wrote: “I well remember the barbecue we had at Larry’s house in DC’s heat — along with all sorts of other pleasant times. One of the finest legacies of my association with JSA was the life-long friendship that I developed with Professors Danny Adkison and Bob Ross. A student connection that has continued is with a 1999 Yale program alumna, Maria Ling, who served as a guide to the best dim sum in London for my wife, granddaughter, and me when we were there in 2008. Maria keeps up with many of the students in our 1999 group, and she gives me a welcomed report on them every Christmas. I taught in the Yale program in 1999 and 2001 and in the Princeton program in 2000. As I recall, 1998 was my last year in the Georgetown program. I began in 1984 where Richard Prosser was my first roommate.” [That’s funny; Richard Prosser has also been my roommate at Summer School.]

Channel surfing: I recently caught the C-SPAN coverage of a meeting of the new Financial Stability Oversight Council (which will provide, for the first time, comprehensive monitoring to ensure the stability of our nation’s financial system). Much to my delight, the person testifying was Lance Auer, (Davis SS ’82, San Mateo) who is a financial institutions policy advisor “on loan” to the Department of the Treasury. Lance’s day job is as vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Lance has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School and a B.A. from Pitzer College.

Just a small-town girl: Ruby Bernstein, (Mills College SS, ’48) shared her life’s work with me in a recent email.

“I was a junior at Santa Maria Union High School when I joined JSA in 1947. My world was my little town of 5,000. Then with the help of the Kiwanis Club I was selected to go to JSA Summer School. In those days the girls stayed at Mills and the young men — Ed Meese, Jack Teeters, Don Price et al. — lodged at Montezuma, miles away in the Los Gatos area. However, on our coed outings to Montezuma we not only socialized with young chaps, but we met that wonderful Prof. Rogers, founder of JSA, and Mark Rodman, who was the advisor for this fledgling organization.

“The teachers worked us hard at summer school — my thinking and writing skills improved and my interest in politics soared. When I returned to Santa Maria High School, I became the president of our JSA chapter, and I was the editor of the JSA Newsletter. Best of all, when I entered Stanford University in fall 1949 I had friends on campus from JSA: Joy Mitchell, Jack Teeters and Don Price.

“JSA gave me confidence that I had ideas to share and confidence to see the world. My career as a high school and community college English teacher has given me opportunities to meet students from abroad and to open the world for American young people who live in the inner city, as well as suburbia.

“In the ‘90’s I spent parts of every summer in Eastern Europe as a volunteer teacher with APPLE — American Political Partnership for Lithuanian Education — an exemplary group of largely Lithuanian-American educators who returned to Lithuania when the Soviets exited the Baltic States.

“Currently I am working with the Wellstone Democratic Club’s Health and Peace committees.”

State Dept. analyst: Kristen Fiani, (JSA Atlantic State Governor ’04-’05, Freehold Township) is an economic analyst at the United States State Department, Iraq Policy and Operations Group. She graduated in 2009 from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business with a B.S. Kristen is fluent in Arabic.

Media financier: Former JSA Atlantic State Gov. Neal Shenoy (Montville, N.J., 1992-’93), is an international business executive based in New York. Neal has helped [212]MEDIA launch and manage its portfolio companies across children’s publishing, online gaming and social networking. He has experience in both the financing and operations of media companies, having begun his career in an upstart unit of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette that advised top U.S. media companies in the cable, cellular, publishing and telecom industries and raised over $1.5 billion of public and private capital. Immediately prior to his tenure as an investment banker, Neal produced research on the then nascent broadband industry. He translated his knowledge of media into a venture and strategic backed media company, Simile, where he served as president. Neal graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with a B.S.F.S. in International Relations and a Concentration in Asian Studies.

Policy architect: Darcy Olsen, serves as president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute (Phoenix, AZ), a groundbreaking state research and litigation center for conservative policy in the United States. Under Olsen’s leadership, the Goldwater Institute has acted as a policy architect for successful state level reforms, including school choice laws, initiatives to protect private property, and tax cuts. The Goldwater Institute has twice been named Arizona’s Best Capitol Watchdog by the Arizona Capitol Times.

An authority on state policy trends in education reform, economic policy, and government reform, Olsen has been a guest on National Public Radio and “The O’Reilly Factor,” and appears regularly as a speaker at JSA Arizona events. Olsen’s opinions have been widely published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the National Review, and she has testified before Congress.

Olsen earned a B.S. at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and an M.A. in International Education at New York University. Darcy participated in the Georgetown JSA Summer School in the late 1980s, and was a founding member of her JSA chapter.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 8, 2010:
An earlier version of this article misstated Kristen Fiani’s dates of service; she was governor in 2004-2005, not 1994-1995.


In This Issue
  The Top 10 JSA Highlights of 2010
  Fall States Host 5,000 JSA’ers
  Shultz Gets JSA Award
  T-A Named JSA Trustee
  2011 Summer Enrollment Begins
  Karen’s Corner
Events calendar
Feb. 5-6, 2011
 Northern California
  Winter Congress

Feb. 11-12, 2011
 Northeast Winter Congress
 Washington, D.C.

 Pacific Northwest Congress
 Portland, Ore.

Feb. 18-20, 2011
 Ohio River Valley
  Winter Congress
 Washington, D.C.

Feb. 19-20, 2011
 Southern California
  Winter Congress
 Long Beach

How Can I Help JSA
Donate now! 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.