Saturday December 3rd, 2011 marked the first Southern California Junior State chapter conference of the year! Held at Burbank’s John Burroughs High School, the event was a rousing success, hosting nearly 50 attendees and showcasing the message and workings of JSA to all who were present. Lead by John Burroughs High School’s phenomenal chapter leaders, namely Alec Villalpando and Grant Crater, this chapter conference featured a myriad of debates ranging in subject from the nature of one’s sexuality to the difficulty of teenage life in America today.
The mini-conference, publicized through Facebook and via email, drew attendees from all across Southern California to its doors. Some dedicated JSA-ers drove upwards of two hours in order to quench their thirst for spirited political debate! As in traditional JSA debate, best speaker gavels were awarded to those JSA-ers who were outstanding at arguing their respective positions, and a great time was had by all who attended.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was the impromptu speed chess debate between Angeles Region Mayor Justin Lin and Southern Empire Region Mayor Julianna Joss concerning the issue of merit pay for teachers. The debate was a showdown between the two Mayors, with Joss arguing that teachers pay should not be based on their students’ test performance and with Lin arguing that it should. JSA members in attendance loved seeing their JSA student leaders in an intense yet respectful debate!
Additionally, one of the most exciting elements of mini-cons is watching new JSA-ers debate for the very first time; despite their nerves, the new debaters were phenomenal and will make a fantastic addition to the Southern California Junior State. At the end of the day, the camaraderie of JSA students was again demonstrated, as many of the convention attendees made new friends and even decided to ‘hang out’ after the chapter convention had concluded.
The Southern California Junior State plans to have several more of these chapter conferences in the months to come, and considers the Burroughs conference to be an excellent preview of more exciting events to come!