This past February, JSA student leaders hosted six successful Winter Congress conventions across the nation, beginning with conventions in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest and ending with conventions in Southern California and Northeast. Winter Congress 2017 brought together nearly 4,000 students across 17 states for this congressional simulation.
JSA students highly anticipate Winter Congress because of its immersive, engaging format, which differs from that of traditional debates. Instead of pondering riveting resolutions prepared by student leadership, delegates debate controversial bills written by the delegates themselves. In this way, Winter Congress uniquely places control of the debates into the hands of the students themselves, which can make for some incredibly exciting moments in discussion and argumentation. Put simply, Winter Congress is a convention by the students, of the students, for the students.
Bills written by students cover a wide variety of topics – everything from renewable energy to space exploration to free trade to social justice. Once they’re submitted, they’re debated at the convention, and if the bill writers are able to make their case, they’re fortunate enough to see their bill pass through two intense sessions of debate. Below is a list of some of the more popular bills that passed at several of our Congress conventions.
A Bill to Implement Paid Parental Leave
A Bill to Reform Health Education in Public High Schools
A Bill to Remove the Luxury Tax on All Feminine Hygiene Products
A Bill to Remove Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws for Nonviolent Drug Offenses
A Constitutional Amendment to Establish Equal Representation for American Citizens Residing in U.S. Territories
A Bill to Increase Government Funding for Energy Research
A Bill to Reform the Immigration System
JSA also congratulates those students who were named as Best Speaker in their Winter Congress. This distinction is given to those students whose speeches held the most significance in their respective committees. To view the full list of best speakers from all Winter Congress conventions, click here.
JSA’s unique, time-tested method puts students in charge of their own experiences, allowing them to explore how to make their voices and actions matter. Through this approach, JSA has prepared more than 500,000 young people for thoughtful leadership in every sector of society.
Alumni and current students agree: this community of leaders has a lasting impact on their ability to address complex issues and have vital but difficult conversations across diverse viewpoints. These skills benefit not only individual students and alumni, but also the organizations they lead, the communities they inhabit and society overall.
Hear from current students about how JSA has impacted them.
The Junior Statesmen Foundation is pleased to announce and welcome our three new members to the Board of Trustees, including a JSA summer school alumni and a former JSA Governor. The Foundation serves as the fiscal sponsor of the Junior State of America, a nonprofit founded in 1934 that provides civic engagement and leadership programming for high school youth across the country. Joining our Trustees are Scott Bekemeyer, Karyn Dest Harrington and Jennifer Bunn Hayden. Together, they bring a wealth of experience in law, management and policy, and represent backgrounds with experience from across the country.
Scott Bekemeyer is the Chairman of PRE Diversified Holdings, an investment company which acquires and operates specialty manufacturing companies. Scott holds an A.B. and an M.B.A. degree from Stanford University. Scott’s prior experience includes being Vice President of Business Development at ZipRealty and Co-Founder of Sierra Expressway, a commuter airline. Scott loves to travel and he is a former JSF trustee.
Karyn Dest Harrington is Vice President for Strategic Communications at Coca-Cola North America. Karyn began her career as a TV reporter in both Missouri and Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and dual M.B.A. degrees from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Canada. She also participated in the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition to various SoCal JSA roles, Karyn is an alum from Georgetown Summer School 1995, Yale 1996, and was a resident advisor for two summers at the Georgetown Summer School.
Jennifer Bunn Hayden is a litigation attorney at Hueston Hennigan LLP. Jennifer began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Josephine Staton of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to law school, she was a Teach for America Corps Member in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she taught fifth grade. She holds a B.S. from the Wharton School and a B.A. from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Jennifer was Governor of the SoCal State and is an alum of Stanford Summer School 2000.
At Southern California JSA Fall State in Los Angeles, SoCal JSA was proud to introduce Spanish-language debates to the Junior State. A chapter presidents suggested the idea to the SoCal JSA’s Debate Department and they knew it was an important debate to have. Students from different schools in Southern California debated and discussed the effects of gentrification on urban communities. Over 130 high school students attended, and the post-convention feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
“We’re so thankful to everyone who participated in or otherwise contributed to the Spanish debate, and we look forward to continuing to hold them at future conventions!” says Patrick Aimone ’18, SoCal JSA Director of Debate.
To Ana Delgado ’17, Chapter President of Carpinteria High School, this debate had a personal meaning to her.
“Like many other students, English was not my first language. Growing up, I remember finding going back and forth between a Spanish-speaking household and an English-speaking school system difficult and confusing. I would occasionally speak Spanish to other Spanish-speaking peers, and being a part of a predominantly Hispanic school district, I didn’t see a problem with this. That is, until I was yelled at by a substitute teacher for translating English instructions to a student who only spoke Spanish. Being told “the classroom has no room for Spanish” and “we speak English here” left me scared. I stopped speaking Spanish in both the classroom and home. Since then, I have realized there is nothing wrong with embracing my two languages, and today I am proudly bilingual. When SoCal JSA held their first-ever Spanish debate– the whole thing was in Spanish! During the debate I felt empowered and reassured that Spanish does not disturb the learning environment. It isn’t a “handicap”. This Spanish debate opened a new window in which students, like myself, could express themselves. I look forward to more Spanish debates for the conventions to come.”
National Headquarters in California
111 Anza Blvd., Suite 109, Burlingame, CA 94010
Washington, D.C. Office
2001 S Street NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20009
The mission of the Junior State of America and the Junior Statesmen Foundation is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society.
Pricing package details for all Fall State conventions are listed below. Note that these prices apply only to chapters that register online using MyJSA. The paper registration fee is an additional $10 per student. There is also a late fee of $15 per person for chapters that do not complete their registration by the registration deadline.
Fall State Pricing Package Details 2016
EARLY REGISTRATION PRICES
REGULAR REGISTRATION PRICES
Oct. 29 - 30, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Sept. 12 – Sept. 25