by Shauna Hunt
In society today, very few teens worry about or are involved in our nation’s politics. As youths we are more focused on the latest fashion and not what bills are currently being passed by Congress. As a sophomore in high school, I have never really had any interest what-so-ever in the politics of this country. That is, however, until I discovered the Junior Statesmen of America. The Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) is a completely student-run, nation wide, non-profit, non-partisan organization. JSA has been around for approximately 70 years, and was created to involve each generation of youths with what is happening in the world. All high school students from grades 9 to 12 are encouraged to become a part of the Junior Statesmen.
JSA is currently in its first year at San Clemente High School. Zoe Weintraub, the President of the SCHS chapter, became aware of JSA from a convention she attended over the summer. After the convention, Zoe worked hard to sign up JSA as an official club on the San Clemente High School campus. A month into the 05-06 school year, elections for officers of the chapter were held. The office positions in each chapter consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Publicist. SCHS’s JSA club is made up of about thirty students and has hopes of growing as time goes on.
Set up in chapters, JSA makes each participating school a chapter. Each chapter has a president, and each month the president is sent ‘Thought-Talk’ and Debate topics. The chapters of JSA are divided up by region, (for example Southern California, LA County, etc), and run by a Governor, an elected student officer who is in control of the JSA state. The governor of each state regulates the events in each region. Although each JSA chapter is made up of individuals from one school, other students from all around the regions are given the opportunity to come together at conferences, conventions, and political awareness events.
During our first year, members of SCHS JSA have attended a conference at SOKA University, consisting of a full day of debates and thought talks. At the conference, our JSA members were able to meet the student governor of the California JSA state, along with other students who are running for elected officers for next year.
On April 28-30, JSA is having an overnight convention at the LAX Hilton Hotel, inviting all JSA members in California to attend. The convention, named “Spring State 2006- America at the Crossroads”, will discuss how our decisions and involvement made today affect our lives in the future. The convention will encourage students to become a part of the student empowerment movement through debates and discussions of local, national, and international conflicts and their importance.
San Clemente’s own JSA club is working to raise money in order for everyone willing to be able to go to the convention. In order to fundraise, not just for the convention but for other conventions in the future, JSA will be having numerous bake sales in San Clemente during the Sunday Farmers’ Market. The local merchants have been kind enough to let us participate on Avenida Del Mar, in front of the Beach Fire restaurant. We will be selling tasty treats such as loaves of homemade breads, a variety of cookies and brownies of all sizes! Everyone is invited to come down, learn about, and help support San Clemente’s JSA club. We encourage you to find out more about what the younger generation is doing to shape our future. b