The winner of the sixth annual National Civic Impact Award is Downey High School from Downey, Calif. The National Civic Impact Award recognizes the JSA chapter that has had the biggest impact on increasing the level of civic awareness and engagement at their school.
Downey was chosen from among the eleven finalists, all of which had won the Chapter of the Year Award in their region of the country. A panel of judges consisting of trustees of the Junior Statesmen Foundation and JSA alumni reviewed the materials submitted by the finalists and Downey took the prize. The South Jersey Homeschoolers JSA chapter was a close second with the margin of less than a one point.
“My initial reaction was ‘unbelievable’,” commented Mr. Ryan Johnson, the Downey Chapter Advisor, upon learning about the award. He went on “but once I reflected some more, I realized how deserving these students were of this honor. Civic engagement never took a back seat to these students’ priorities.” The judges were particularly impressed by not only by the growth and development of the chapter within a large urban school, but also the great strides they made to engage local politicians and become more politically active. Downey JSA members attended school board meetings and city council meetings to give their voice while hosting a candidates’ forum for those running for the school board.
In winning the award, the Downey chapter will receive a $2,000 grant to the chapter in order to continue their civic engagement programs in the upcoming year, a $500 stipend reward to the chapter’s advisor and a plaque that can be displayed in the school’s award case. Downey’s Chapter President, Andrea Lomeli was thrilled about the award,
“We are so unbelievably honored to receive this much recognition for our chapter’s achievements…. The new levels of membership, outreach, and activism our chapter has pursued helped us grow into leaders and we are incredibly grateful that JSA has given us the place to become who we are today.”
The other winners of the state Chapter of the Year Awards were: Ashland High School from Ashland, Mass., Coral Springs Christian Academy from Coral Springs, Fla., Danville High School from Danville, Ky., Hooks High School from Hooks, Tx., Arrowhead High School from Hartland, Wis., Lincoln Park High School from Chicago, Ill., Kofa High School from Yuma, Ariz., University High School from Fresno, Calif., Sunset High School from Portland, Ore., and the South Jersey Homeschoolers from Southern New Jersey.
Watch Downey’s winning presentation: http://www.youtube.com/juniorstatesmen#p/u/4/_7F4SRvfdV0.
All of the presentations for the National Civic Impact Award can be viewed here: http://jsa.org/about/national-civic-impact-award/