By LAURA CHALK
The Arizona Junior State Leadership Conference took place Saturday, September 15 at the Social Sciences Building on the University of Arizona campus. JSAZ leaders, Chapter Presidents, State Cabinet Members, Teacher/Advisors, and motivated high school students gathered to discuss the event-packed 2012-2013 JSAZ season. Leaders explored the fundamentals of starting a chapter and proper debating, current goals, and the affects of JSA on participating youth.
The current JSA Lieutenant Governor, Alexa Salas, shared the JSA 2012-2013 goal of “bridging the gap between youth and politics.” Making topics such as abortion, gay rights, the 2012 presidential election, taxes, The Dream Act, and the more close to home topic of immigration, tangible, understandable, and relevant to Arizonan youth is the direction this year will take.
But, more than just the current state of JSAZ was addressed. Guest speaker and former Lieutenant Governor Angelica Alvarez expressed her gratitude for JSA’s impact on her future. Angelica revealed that JSA empowered her to discover and to strengthen her connection with her community here in Arizona, “it’s not a person that raises you, it’s a whole community.” Angelica now is currently working in Congressman Raul Grijalva’s office, dedicating her spare time to helping those in her community. These lessons and understanding hit home in the hearts of leaders; “we as students are in charge and it’s our choice what direction the future will take,” summarized JSAZ Governor Caleb Rhodes.
With debating skills, heated topics, and advice and perspective on JSAZ’s role in their futures, the 2012-2013 JSAZ leaders will return to their home cities ready and prepared to make a positive communal impact.