In keeping with JSA’s Spring State Convention theme – “Revolutionizing Democracy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” – former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will deliver a keynote address and students will debate current political issues and the future of democracy around the world. JSA’s Midwest State will welcome 250 students from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota for their annual Spring State Convention in Oakbrook, Ill., April 2.
Blagojevich will speak to students and answer questions about the realities of modern politics and the issues he faced as governor. JSA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is student-run; the governor was invited to speak by Naperville North High School student, Anastasia Golovashkina, who is Midwest director of public relations. Student questions will not be pre-screened.
After the keynote address, Blagojevich will participate in “JSA for Japan,” a fundraiser created by students to benefit victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The fundraiser will include a game of ‘Jeopardy!,’ in which students pay $5 per person to compete against Blagojevich for one round modeled after America’s favorite quiz show. The Midwest student cabinet expects this will bring an extra boost to their fundraising efforts.
”Though we have worked to raise funds for charities in the past, we anticipate that the combination of such a pressing cause with the governor’s involvement will make it our most successful fundraiser to date,” says Vicky Fernandez of Lincoln Park High School, who is director of social activism.
The two-day event usually attracts a crowd, but this year five new chapters will participate. “Blagojevich has definitely drawn attention to our chapter and JSA in our school,” says Naperville North Chapter President Sameer Bansal. JSA seeks to expose student members to the realities of politics and to create an open forum for civil debate. JSA hopes that the former governor’s nationally recognized status will increase public awareness about the mission of the organization.
The convention will begin on April 2, at the DoubleTree Chicago-Oakbrook Hotel. This event is open only to JSA members and JSA teachers. The media is invited to cover the events that feature the former governor and are required to RSVP with the event media contact.
10:10–10:30 a.m.: Blagojevich keynote address
10:30–11 a.m.: Questions and answer session for the former governor
11–11:20 a.m.: “JSA for Japan” Jeopardy! with Blagojevich
Providing civics education and leadership programs for more than 75 years, JSA is the largest student-run organization in the United States. School-year programs take place in more than 450 secondary schools in 35 states, with more than 10,500 dues paying members. Students have developed 10 “states” around the country that have their own political conventions and three-branch governments. During the summer, JSA provides three-week summer schools that teach political science, government, constitutional law, international relations and speech communication courses on college campuses such as Georgetown, Princeton and Stanford universities, and well as one-week institutes focused on topics such as media and leadership, at schools such as UCLA, Princeton and Arizona State. In 2010 the group launched its first overseas effort, the JSA Diplomat Program at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China. The JSA program is supported by the Junior Statesmen Foundation Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational corporation, which provides students the guidance and mentoring to run their own programs and administers the summer programs and institutes. It has offices in San Mateo, Calif., and Washington, D.C. More information is available at http://www.jsa.org/ or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the event:
Midwest Program Director
For student interviews:
Director of Public Relations–MW Cabinet