By Graham Smith
On August 29, 2015, the members of this year’s Texas JSA State Cabinet gathered together at the annual Cabinet Meeting, held in Houston, Texas. Dedicated members made the trip to Houston from all corners of the state, with some even driving upwards of eight hours. Keep reading to learn more about the intricacies of JSA cabinet and the department’s goals for the year.
A major statewide initiative for this year is the growth of the Texas Scholarship fund. Last year, the state raised more money than any other state for the scholarship fund, and Texas is working to continue the trend this year. Every Cabinet Member is required to raise at least 35 dollars to go toward the scholarship fund, and, with over 75 cabinet members, this will go a long way. The leaders have set various incentives to encourage donation. These initiatives include pieing people in the face, directors eating a spoonful of wasabi, and the statewide elected officials have agreed to do the “Sassy Dance” at Fall State. This is all for the purpose of making sure that every student who wants to attend a convention are able to.
The Cabinet Meeting itself was an all-day event that featured numerous departmental breakout sessions. The Convention Department, led by Convention Coordinator Sarah Angel, started making plans for state conventions, beginning work on the Fall State agenda. The Logistics team worked with the Fundraising department to coordinate transportation to Fall State. Quizmaster Harry Parma created a bank of Quizbowl questions in preparation for the Fall State Quizbowl, a tradition in Texas JSA, while Director of Special Activities Sreya Nalluri began planning the Fall State dance.
The CIA, or Chapter of Internal Affairs, department, led by junior Ajay Singh, assigned every Chapter President in Texas JSA to a CIA agents, and they started making contact with all of them in Texas JSA. The expansion department accomplished a great deal at Cabinet Convention. With state director Alexander Tekle taking charge of the department this year, the goal is that every Expansion agent will create at least one new chapter. They starting this process by establishing weekly Expansion conference calls and working with the Mayors and Administrators to foster regional growth.
Led by Debate Director Elizabeth Contreras, the Debate Department began writing debate blurbs and resolutions for Fall State. The are working extensively with the Convention department to ensure that debate resolutions are posted as soon as possible so that adequate time for debate preparation. They wanted to make sure that the debates are an exciting experience for all members at the convention this year.
Texas Cabinet is the invisible force that makes JSA possible in the State. Composed of extremely qualified individuals, cabinet members work to ensure a memorable convention experience for every JSAer and to expand JSA to new chapters, spreading the message of civic engagement.
Graham Smith is the Texas Speaker of the House and Alamo Heights Chapter President. Graham has been active in JSA since 2012.