Posted on November 30, 2016.
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.”
Posted in JSA Today, MyJSA, National Debate of the Month, News, Parents, Students
Posted on .
In the wake of this election, I return to what drives me most days, and that is: How can I change things for the better, right here, right now? Whose life can I improve today? How can I make the city I live in safer today? What can I do to improve the education system and education outcomes for the people in my city today?
It is the TODAY part that motivates me, because I know that each of us can in fact make a difference every day. We don’t need to wait for an election. We shouldn’t wait until we retire or have more time, or finish X or Y. We should do what we can now, today.
There are many organizations that deserve our attention, our energy and our financial support. First among them for me is the Junior State of America (JSA). I am convinced that a student-run organization focused on civil discourse and civic engagement is exactly what our nation needs…today and for years to come.
I watch our incredible JSA students, more than 10,000 of them across the country, grapple with challenging political questions with a grace and dignity few grown ups managed to muster during this political campaign. I find myself in awe of the sophistication of JSA student discourse, and the near boundless empathy they show for their fellow students, regardless of political, religious or ethnic background.
Please help us reach more young leaders with JSA’s unique student-led, student-run programs. I am focused on what I can do to support civic education and the rising generation of leaders TODAY. I hope you’ll join me.
Rachel Kaganoff Stern
President, The Junior Statesmen Foundation
Posted in Alumni & Friends, Be Inspired, Educators, Featured, JSA Today, MyJSA, News, Uncategorized
Posted on November 10, 2016.
As people across the country headed to the polls on November 8, 2016, JSAers made their voices heard by voting in a virtual election conducted on our app. Check out what tomorrow’s leaders had to say – not only on the candidates for president but on congressional races and ballot measures as well!
These results offer a glimpse at the priorities of the next generation and the representatives that speak to them and therefore offers telling perspective on the political future of America. The students learned the difficulty of making decisions that could change the course of a nation while also developing an understanding of the importance of voting to our American Democracy. They were also given the opportunity to share their opinion and learn from others by posting on an activity feed that included candidate endorsements, pictures of mock elections at schools, and real-time election updates.
Mauricio Macias, a Senior at Cibola High School in Yuma, Arizona explained the feeling of empowerment he experienced through the online election.“Many high school students don’t have the ability to vote because of age restriction but JSA again gives them an opportunity to express the voice. Being able to vote; even though it wasn’t an official ballot, gave me the opportunity to express my voice and participate in a democratic process that wouldn’t of bee provided otherwise. JSA does this everyday for thousands of high school students and i’m privileged to be be given this opportunity.”
Check out the results below.
Posted in Be Inspired, JSA Today, News, Uncategorized
Posted on September 15, 2016.
For youth from the U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, climate change is not theoretical; it is a reality. This summer we launched the JSA Global Climate Change Project to empower our students from American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to affect change in their communities. Thanks to the generous support from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, 66 students from these regions participated in JSA summer programs in June and July of 2016. The Global Climate Change Project offered a channel to apply the skills students learned at JSA summer school to real solutions.
Through our program, students learned the latest research about how this global issue impacts their islands. With JSA faculty and staff guidance, they designed strategic year-long projects to engage their communities. Our students cultivated their passion for climate change and felt prepared to return home as advocates. It has been only eight weeks since the end of their summer school sessions, and these amazing students have already progressed with their activism projects.
The feedback we have received on the impact of our program is astounding. Conrad Jr. Timothy, a student from Kosrae in Micronesia said: “It was thanks to the program that each of us can express our ideas proudly and take charge in situations where leaders are needed. An example of this is how I have been forming a group among Kosrae High School’s seniors where we try and get the general public more involved in cleaning our island. We are starting off small by cleaning the school and encouraging the lower grades to participate in our endeavor. Once we get enough recognition for our deeds, we’d be able to clean the streets with the help of multiple organizations in Kosrae. We’re starting to make changes for the better but the Micronesian Activists and I don’t just want to stop there.” We are proud of our students who take on these issues and engage others in their efforts to make a change.
Posted in Featured, News