By Sarah Baum
On Saturday, September 26th, members of the Mid-Atlantic State flocked to Bergen County Academy in Hackensack, New Jersey, for Leadership Day 2015.
This event is hosted every September by the Chapter of the Year. At the conference, participants attend seminars on topics such as “Growing Your Chapter,” “JSA Expansion,” “Fundraising,” and several others that will help new and old cabinet members and chapter presidents alike in their JSA endeavors. Each course was led by a fellow student.
Leadership Day hosted teens from all around the MAS. Noel Murray, from Columbia High School chapter, called the experience educational. He also highlighted some of the new skills he gained, such as debate writing and chapter branding.
Ola Amokomowo of Old Mill High School chapter also found Leadership Day informational and helpful. “I learned…a lot about how…to bring activism to my community,” Amokomowo told JSA Today. “My school…is filled with a lot of people who are so polarized in their views that it’s hard to draw up activism ideas that everybody agrees with. But after speaking with [student leaders] I know a lot more about how to overcome this issue.”
However, Leadership Day was not only an opportunity for growth within JSA, but was also an opportunity for growth of political knowledge and awareness. This year, students were lucky to have State Sen. Robert M. Gordon as a keynote speaker. He discussed current initiatives involving education and transportation, provided insight on the presidential race, and even answered questions from a few fortunate people in the audience. Annabelle Ford, from South Jersey Chapter, described Gordon as “the most informative and…applicable speaker… [she] ever heard at a JSA event.” Annabelle’s sentiments rang true for many of the students, especially with so many in attendance who were from Gordon’s district.
As yet another successful JSA convention comes to an end, members can now go home and apply their new-found skills to expanding and improving the Junior State. They are all eagerly awaiting the next event.
Sarah Baum is a sophomore from the New Jersey Region. It is her second year in JSA. Her freshman year, she was a chapter expansion agent. Currently, she serves as a staff writer for JSA Today, as well as for her regional JSA paper, the MAS Liberty. She is also a regional expansion agent. Outside of the Junior State, Sarah enjoys writing for her school newspaper, writing poetry and short stories, musical theatre, and petting small animals.