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SoCal JSA Debates in Spanish at Fall State LA

Students at the Spanish DebateAt 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, Students0 Comments

2016-2017 National Cabinet Announced

National Chief of Staff: Karl Meakin

KarlKarl is a senior at Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Connecticut. He is incredibly excited to serve as National Chief of Staff for the upcoming year. Karl has been involved in JSA since Winter Congress 2014, and in the past few years has served as the Cheshire High School Chapter President and Northeast State Chief of Staff. He also attended the Montezuma Leadership Conference in 2015. Karl loves JSA for its ability to empower students to speak their minds and become politically involved, as well as the opportunity it provides for him to meet engaged and thoughtful JSA-ers from across the country.

Outside of JSA, Karl is involved in Model United Nations, Young Democrats, and Student Government. He’s also involved in climate and social justice activism with several New Haven, CT based organizations. He can’t wait to work with the inspiring individuals on National Cabinet and the Council of Governors this year!

National Director of Debate: Ian Baucke

IanIan Baucke is a senior from Santa Barbara, California and has been involved in JSA since the beginning of his freshman year. He was previously on Regional Cabinet and the Mayor of the Channel Islands Region in Southern California JSA – this year, Ian will serve as JSA's National Director of Debate and is very excited to work on improving the debate component of JSA. Ian is also a serving his third term as Chapter President for his school, San Marcos High. Ian has graduated from three JSA summer programs at Georgetown University, the JSA Institute for Leadership and Politics at UC Davis, the Gene A. Burd Institute on Los Angeles Media & Politics at UCLA, and JSA’s Montezuma Leadership Conference.

Ian’s passion is politics and in addition to JSA he works on local political campaigns and is involved in his school’s Model United Nations, Young America’s Foundation, Journalism, and LINK Leader programs. Ian is humbled and excited by the opportunity he has to help foster a more civically engaged youth through JSA's debates. He feels confident that this year in JSA will be a successful one and he is very grateful that he has the opportunity to work with rest of the National Cabinet and the Council of Governors in order to create that success.

National Director of Activism: Anna Prisco

AnnaAnna Prisco is a senior at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey. She has been involved with the Junior State for the last three years and has previously served as both Mid-Atlantic Chief of Staff and President of the Bergen County Academies JSA chapter. The summer prior to her junior year she attended the Montezuma Leadership Conference and studied Constitutional Law at JSA Summer School at Georgetown. This year, she hopes that through her role as National Director of Activism she can help educate students on the value of civics and the role of government. She believes that activism is the quintessence of JSA and is excited to work with statesmen and stateswomen all over the country to plan and promote activism initiatives.

Outside of JSA, she competes on her school’s varsity debate team and co-leads The Academy Global, a student-run political publication. She is excited to have to opportunity to serve on National Cabinet and is looking forward to a great year.

National Director of Fight Apathy: Caroline Cai

CarolineCaroline Cai is a senior at Santa Margarita High School in Southern California. Her dedication to JSA comes from the fact that it helped her realize her undying passion for social justice and inspired her to get involved in activism. Having previously worked on the Fight Apathy campaign as a state director of political activism, she is eager to engage even more young people in the political conversation and spark a genuine interest in the issues pertaining to social and political justice. Along with being the National Director of Fight Apathy, Caroline will also serve Santa Margarita's Co- Chapter President.

Outside of JSA, Caroline enjoys participating in Mock Trial, serving as a district director for the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council, rescuing dogs, reading poetry, listening to music, and has competed in World’s Quest academic and ethics bowls. Among her greatest idols are Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Beyoncé Knowles. She cannot contain her excitement for what the upcoming year in JSA and Fight Apathy will bring!

National Director of Overseas Outreach: Abhay Ram

AbhayComing into his freshman year, Abhay had no clue that an organization called JSA even existed. After hearing about it the second week of school and attending a few meetings he realized JSA was an exciting club. After attending conventions and having the honor to serve as a Chapter Internal Affairs Agent and Chief of Staff for the Midwest State, he realized JSA was a comforting and loving family and community. Now, as as he begins his fourth and final year in JSA, he is ready to take on his new role as National Director of Overseas Outreach. Through holding several positions withing JSA he has realized that this organization is a lifestyle that has become second nature to him. Abhay has JSA to thank for his vastly improved communication skills, his more objective and realistic outlook on life, and a community of friends and mentors from across the country that he can reach out to easily.

When not doing JSA work he can be seen singing in his school choir or driving 30 minutes from his house to catch a couple of Pikachus. He is eternally grateful to the experiences JSA has provided him and is excited for what looks to be a great year on a Midwest State and National JSA level!

National Director of Fundraising: Shehryar Khursheed

ShehryarShehryar Khursheed is a senior at IDEA Quest College Preparatory High School from McAllen, Texas. He joined the Junior State of America his freshman year. Previously, he has served as an Expansion Agent for the Rio Grande County and is currently the Vice-President of his JSA chapter. He attended the Montezuma Leadership Conference in 2015 as well as the JSA Summer Institute at Princeton University. Coming from a smaller chapter without many resources, Shehryar firmly believes in the power of fundraising to make JSA an affordable experience for every member. He hopes to further old initiatives as well as implement new ones to ensure that JSA'ers can experience all JSA has to offer. In addition, he hopes that by facilitating successful state and chapter fundraising campaigns he will enable JSA to host programs that are available to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Outside of the Junior State, Shehryar manages his own investment company, runs his own corporate blog, is president of his school's Future Business Leaders of America chapter and is a member of his school's powerlifting team. In his spare time, he is an avid chess player, an obsessive reader and workout enthusiast.

National Director of Technology: Saharsh Agrawal

SaharshSaharsh Agrawal is a third year JSA member and senior at C. Leon King High School in Tampa, Florida. He has been active in his chapter’s JSA and recently became his region’s Chief Technology Officer. He is now the National Director of Technology for JSA. Saharsh is Java OOP certified and recently worked at Moffitt Cancer Center’s Integrated Mathematics Oncology program where he became proficient in MATLAB programming and used it to model tumor growth to develop more effective therapeutic protocols to combat cancer.

Saharsh is also an ardent Model United Nations debater, FBLA competitor, and violinist in his school’s Orchestra. Along with technology, he loves the idea of entrepreneurship and has started a DECA chapter at his high school. In his spare time, Saharsh loves to play table tennis and basketball. Through his position, Saharsh hopes to increase the utility of existing JSA apps and the JSA website in order to make information easier to obtain.

National Director of Public Relations: Sara Reed

SaraSara Reed is a student at Skyline High School in Washington State. Sara joined JSA her freshman year and became a staff photographer on Pacific Northwest Cabinet her sophomore year. During her junior year, she served as Pacific Northwest Director of Publicity and Skyline High School JSA Chapter President. As Skyline President, Sara brought record convention attendance levels for her school, raising their Fall State attendance by over 450% from the last year. In the past, she studied AP U.S Government at Georgetown University and attended the Montezuma Leadership Conference.

In her spare time, she runs a small photography business for portrait images and enjoys alternative-style music. Sara is looking forward to increasing JSA’s social media presence and increasing accessibility to promotional tools nationwide.

Posted in News, Students0 Comments

Discussing Drinking Games: An Interview with Jamaica Ponder

Discussing Drinking Games: An Interview with Jamaica Ponder

By Laura Vorbach

 

When has a joke gone too far? It can sometimes be difficult to tell, but a recent blog post from Princeton, New Jersey has a lot to say about the topic. Written by Jamaica Ponder, the Director of Special and Nighttime Activities for the Mid-Atlantic State, the post discusses the drinking game “Jews vs. Nazis” and its implications. Jamaica posted a picture of a group of high school students playing beer pong with the cups arranged in the shape of a swastika on one side, and a Star of David on the other. Jamaica condemns the act and criticizes its participants for their actions, which have been regarded by many as anti-semitic.

In the blog post, Jamaica writes: “Pardon me if I don’t find that to be hilarious. The real joke here is that these kids weren’t only insensitive enough to play the game, but also silly enough to post it on Snapchat and leave it there long enough for me, and several others, to take a screenshot.”

While the controversial game is not new and has caused problems in the past, it has received widespread media attention from major news outlets, including ABC, NBC, and The New York Times following Jamaica’s article. Jamaica’s school, Princeton High School, has also responded to the controversy.

Princeton Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane said in a statement released on Friday, “An incident such as this one forces us to take a hard look at our efforts in educating our children in the values that may be most important to their success in life.”

Ponders2

JSA Today interviewed Jamaica to learn about her feelings on her article, the media reaction it caused, and speaking up for what one believes in.

 

Why did you feel like you needed to speak out?

I felt like I needed to speak up because kids do this type of stuff all the time and no one ever says anything about it. Due to the silence for their actions they think it’s OK, and it’s not.

How hard was it for you to do this?

I’d like to say doing it was easy, but it wasn’t. It was really hard. I was nervous about the backlash that I would receive and if I was going to lose any friends.

What impact do you hope this will have on high school students?

I hope it will just encourage kids to think and be more sensitive before they act. Obviously these kids had no regard for anyone else or any sensitivity towards the Jewish community, so hopefully this will send a message that the type of selfishness is unrealistic and not the way to live.

How important do you think it is to stand up for what you believe in?

I think standing up for what you believe in is one of the few ways we as teenagers are able to change the world. We don’t have much power at this age but doing what one can is really imperative to making one’s community a better place.

Ponders3

What should someone do if they see something they believe is wrong, but aren’t sure how to call out the perpetrator?

Some people don’t really feel comfortable calling other out. In some cases just walking away is enough to send a message.

What has been the overall reaction to your post from people in your school and community?

Kids at my school are really supportive. The most vocal ones online aren’t the majority (thank god) because they all sound crazy. But I can assure you, the majority of PHS kids don’t totally suck. My community is giving me solid reviews and I’m glad that I did the right thing.

How do you feel about the widespread attention this has received?

I’m so happy this is receiving the attention it deserves. I never expected this media firestorm. I mean, The New York Times?  Woah, it’s a lot to take in.

 

What do you think? Comment your opinions below and speak out for what you believe in!

Laura Vorbach is a sophomore at Biotechnology High School from the New Jersey Region. This is her second year in JSA. Laura is currently serving as a staff writer for JSA Today who loves JSA and learning about politics. Aside from writing, Laura’s other hobbies and interests include science, volunteering, and dogs. A big wish of hers is to make the world a better place in any way that she can.

Posted in JSA Today, Students0 Comments

Who Runs JSA? Our Students Do

Who Runs JSA? Our Students Do

Since 2006, the number of donors to our nonprofit programs has grown from just under 100 individuals to our lively and engaged network of over 1,200 today. Our donors make our programs possible. From providing disenfranchised communities with access to civic engagement programs to supporting scholarships that provide low-income youth with life-changing opportunities through our summer programs, every contribution to the Junior State makes a difference.

Our school year programs are often made accessible to students from all backgrounds through the efforts of their friends and peers. Though the Junior Statesmen Foundation offers scholarships to hundreds of students, our inspiring student fundraisers help by going the extra mile.

“I have so many friends who wouldn’t be able to go to a democratic convention because it’s too expensive, and I wanted them to get to experience them,” says Aastha Jha, one of our student fundraising directors. “For me JSA has really been really life-changing. I found my voice, and issues to care about.”

This year, we kickstarted our annual student crowdfunder in support of need-based scholarships for school year conventions—and in just a month and a half, our students raised $70,000 and exceeded their target for the entire year. “We’ve been reaching out to a broader range of people, friends and family. Our network has broadened a lot more and it’s been really amazing to see how much every donation has added to make an impact.” Jha, now a senior who has spent 3 years in JSA, adds, “Every donation is helping a child find a voice—bringing the next senator, or ringing in the next president. These are the future leaders of America.” It was an incredible feat that blew our development staff out of the water, and moved us deeply in how passionate and connected our students were to sharing their experience with others in their state.

la2050Most recently this year, we entered into our first grant competition with LA2050 through a partnership with Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.  Since 2013, JSA has worked with Alliance to bring our youth empowerment programs to low-income youth in the inner-city of Los Angeles, where Alliance schools have been able to graduate 94% of their students—an important achievement in areas where drop out factories are pervasive and financial insecurities are a real concern for many families. In the first couple of days of the campaign, our students and communities collected enough votes to spur us into the top ten of 78 entries.

Our students understand the value of letting every voice be heard—no democracy can function without the participation of every individual.  We’re especially fortunate for our student leaders and touched by their families and communities who believe in them.

Posted in Featured, Students0 Comments

Fall State Pricing Guide

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

CONVENTIONEARLY REGISTRATION PRICESREGULAR REGISTRATION PRICES
Southern California
(Los Angeles)
Oct. 29 - 30, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Sept. 12 – Sept. 25

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $145

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120
Standard Registration Period: Sept. 26 – Oct. 13

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120
Northern California
Santa Clara Marriott
Nov. 12 - 13, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Sept. 26 – Oct. 9

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $145

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 10 – Oct. 20

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120
Pacific Northwest
Doubletree Seattle Hotel Airport
Nov. 12 - 13, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Sept. 26 – Oct. 9

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $135
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $185

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 10 – Oct. 20

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $225

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Southeast
DoubleTree Sawgrass Mills
Nov. 12 - 13, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Sept. 26 – Oct. 9

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $145
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $195

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $115
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $230
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 10 – Oct. 20

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $235

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $115
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $230
Arizona
Tucson Marriott University Park
Nov. 19 - 20, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3 – Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $155
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $205

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $220
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 17 – Nov. 6

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $165
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $215

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $220
Mid-Atlantic
Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel
Nov. 19 - 20, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3 – Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $135
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $185

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 17 – Nov. 6

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $225

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Midwest
Madison Concourse Hotel
Nov. 19 - 20, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3 – Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $135
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $185


Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 17 – Nov. 6

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $225


Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Ohio River Valley
Cincinnati Marriott North
Nov. 19 - 20, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3 – Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $135
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $185

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 17 – Nov. 6

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $225

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $200
Southern California
(Orange County)
Nov. 19 - 20, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3 – Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $145

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 17 – Oct. 26

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120
Texas
Sheraton Austin Hotel
Nov. 19 - 20, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3 – Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $160
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $210

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $320
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 17 – Nov. 3

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $200
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $250

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $320
Northeast
Boston Park Plaza Hotel
Dec. 10 - 11, 2016
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 24 – Nov. 6

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $165
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $215

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $320
Standard Registration Period: Nov. 7 – Nov. 23

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $200
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee + Extra Night: $250

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room 2 nights: $320


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