The Junior State of America held its annual Spring State conventions across the country in April, marking the end of a great academic year of intelligent debates, educational simulations, and passionate civic activism. This year’s Spring State conventions were held in Oakbrook, Illinois, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, California, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Orlando, Florida, Santa Clara, California, Columbus, Ohio, Redmond Washington, Meriden, Connecticut, and Phoenix, Arizona.
The convention theme, “The future of Freedom: Rights, Revolution, and Renewal,” centers around the ever-changing world that we live in, and both the domestic and foreign influences that affect the freedom billions around the world enjoy. The debates which took place across all ten conventions included: Resolved, that drone warfare is a violation of human rights, Resolved, that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban be reinstated, and a discussion group about the 21st Century American Identiy.
The Spring State conventions also had an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, who shared their knowledge of politics,
the media, and foreign affairs with the students. Of particular note were US Rep. John Mica (R-FL 7th District), US Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL 11th District), and Journalist, Author, and host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, Dr. Fareed Zakaria. “Dr. Zakaria was a great speaker because he discussed major issues we all wonder about, such as terrorism, and explained them in a way we all understood. He engaged our questions and presented us with information in relatable and unique ways,” said Mid-Atlantic Governor Simone Klein.
One of the most important activities of each weekend was the election, where students chose their leadership for the upcoming year. In addition to the Governor, who serves as a part of JSA’s leadership on the 10-member Council of Governors, JSA states elected a variety of other officers, including Lt. Governors, Regional Mayors, and Assembly Representatives. “I am confident that the newly-elected JSA leadership has what it takes to spread JSA more widely among their peers, and to carry on our mission of teaching young people the democratic process,” said Elizabeth Ventura, JSA Senior Program Director.
In addition to JSA elections, other year-end awards were earned by students and chapters across the nation. The first award, the Statesperson of the Year, goes to a non-elected student, usually a graduating senior, who best embodies the ideals of statesmanship, and who works hard to make JSA successful. The second award, the Chapter of the Year award, goes to the chapter in each state which that has done the best possible job of educating, involving, and representing the youth of their school and community, and who participates frequently in statewide conventions and activism activities. The 10 chapters of the year will all compete for JSA’s National Civic Impact Award, given to the chapter which best displays these qualities on a national level, and which makes the biggest impact on the community it serves.
Here are the results for each state for Governor-elect, Statesperson of the Year, and Chapter of the Year.
2013-14 Governor-elect: Chetan Bafna, Kofa High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Priscila Ortiz, Kofa High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Kofa High School, Yuma, Arizona
2013-14 Governor-elect: Cristian Vides, Plainfield High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Aarushi Kumar, Secaucus High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Plainfield High School, Plainfield, New Jersey
2013-14 Governor-elect: Kristiana Yao, Naperville North High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Carly Naughton, Nequa Valley High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Illinois Math and Science Academy, Aurora, Illinois
2013-14 Governor-elect: Joshua Kisbye, University High School (Fresno)
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Will Du, Bishop O’Dowd High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Richmond High School, Richmond, California
2013-14 Governor-elect: Benjamin Reytblat, Staten Island Technical High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Michael Holtz, Staples High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: New Rochelle High School, New Rochelle, New York
Ohio River Valley:
2013-14 Governor-elect: Winston Underwood, Dublin Scioto High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: CJ Kronk, Pickerington North High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Danville High School, Danville, Kentucky
2013-14 Governor-elect: Tyler Pichette, Central Valley High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Lexi Boyer, Skyline High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Westview High School, Portland, Oregon
2013-14 Governor-elect: Sabrina Lieberman, Marlborough High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Kortnee Ogbuefi, King Drew Medical Magnet High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Valencia High School, Placentia, California
2013-14 Governor-elect: Raymond Rif, Nova High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Jessica Zimmerman, Naples High School
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: Naples High School, Naples, Florida
2013-14 Governor-elect: Indre Altman, Carnegie Vanguard High School
2012-13 Statesperson of the Year: Anthony Kayruz, St. Mary’s Hall
2012-13 Chapter of the Year: The John Cooper School, The Woodlands, Texas
For more extensive election results, visit your individual JSA state’s website.