Dr. Katie Langford, who has directed several JSA Summer School programs over the last decade, recently joined Courtney Byrd, JSA’s Director of Recruiting & Admissions on a visit to Palau, Guam, and Chuuk, and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia to recruit students to attend JSA Summer Schools. On each island, Dr. Langford and Ms. Byrd visited with students and educators at multiple high schools and with political leaders to discuss how Junior Statesmen’s Summer Programs build study skills, leadership skills, and confidence in the next generation of insular leaders.
For more than twenty years, the Junior Statesmen Foundation has partnered with the United States Department of Interior (DOI) to offer JSA scholarships to students from the U.S. territories and protectorates of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Palau, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia,
and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
While in Palau, Langford and Byrd met with the Honorable Masa’aki Emesiochel, who serves as the Minister of Education in Koror, Palau. Last year the Minister of Education awarded six additional scholarships for students to attend JSA Summer Schools through the College Access Grant, and has committed to helping Palaun students through the grant again this year.
Dr. Langford and Ms. Byrd also met with the First Lady of Palau to thank her for long-standing support of the JSA program and to discuss fundraising efforts. The First Lady helped plan and host the first-ever reception for Palaun JSA alumni. At this alumni reception, students were given the special opportunity to meet with the President and First Lady of Palau. Students from each of the campuses stood up and shared their experiences and how the program has positively impacted them. The President of Palau also gave brief remarks, encouraging the students to continue to work hard and challenge themselves.
In Guam, Courtney Byrd met with Will Castro, a Policy Analyst / Chief Policy Adviser on Education, as well as the Director of the Public Policy Institute. The Public Policy Institute is an intern program for Guam’s best public and private school students. Mr. Castro also oversees the Guam Youth Congress, an organization of elected students who develop public policy for possible legislation. Ms. Byrd also had the pleasure of meeting with the Honorable Judith Won Pat, the Speaker of the 31st Guam Legislature, who was very supportive of the JSA Program and discussed possibilities of helping students to reach their fundraising goals. Ms. Byrd will also meet with Governor Eddie Bazo Calvo to discuss JSA domestic summer programs, additional fundraising opportunities for the students, and the JSA Diplomat Program, an international summer school held in Beijing, China each summer.
In Chuuk, FSM Dr. Langford visited with the students of the prestigious Xavier High School, considered by many to be the best school in Micronesia. She then flew to Pohnpei to recruit in the high schools there. “All of the Pacific Islanders I have met with are extremely supportive of the JSA program and want to do all that they can to help their students attend,” Dr. Langford states. While in the Federated States of Micronesia Dr. Langford also had the opportunity to meet with educational and governmental agencies in an effort to garner financial support for local students.
“We hope that the excitement for JSA continues to grow through out these communities and that students will take the lead and start JSA Chapters in their high schools, and encourage their friends to attend a JSA Summer School,” says Courtney Byrd. JSA will help arm students with the skills and tools necessary to be better students and citizens, effective leaders and entrepreneurs, and agents for social change and greater good.
The DOI annually funds four full scholarships (tuition and transportation) for students in each of the seven insular areas. The mission of the program is to identify the future leaders of current and former U.S. territories and provide them with the opportunity to participate in a JSA Summer School with.
Since 1991, over 2,000 students from U.S. territories have graduated from Junior Statesmen Summer Schools and have gone on to be successful teachers, businessmen, politicians, and leaders both at home and stateside.