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The Junior Statement

In this issue: Chapter of the Month: Westview High School


Should schools monitor students’ social media use? 10 Meet the Council of Governors and National Cabinet 15-16

September 2013




With improved technology and increased transparency, JSA prepares for its best year yet NORTHERN CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA



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September 2013 The Junior Statement

Natl. development dept. launches initiatives with $80k project by Keshav Sota News Editor The Junior State of America (JSA) is launching a new initiative this year called the “80k project”. Honoring the 80th anniversary of JSA, the project targets to fundraise $80,000. All three levels of JSA --chapters, regions and states-- will work together to increase student attendance at conventions by providing scholarships and ensuring a security fund in every state. The short-term goals of this project involve establishing a state fund and promoting chapter fundraisers, which can be done by acquiring money and establishing a social safety net. States will be able to handle unforeseen expeidentures by having a security fund. Additonally, the goal for chapters is to achieve self-sustainability. In the past years, many students were not able to attend conferences due to financial issues. If chapters work together they could help raise money to reduce the financial burdens. To raise money, chapters can solicit donations from members of their communities, local businesses, rotary clubs and other local organizations.


Chapters can also hold fundraisers at local restaurants, and the money earned from such events could then be used to host chapter conferences and to reduce convention fares. States will also be seeking grants from significant donors. Potential organizations include corporations, foundations, governments and JSA alumni. By October 1st, chapters and states should have completed their preliminary donor lists. State teams should create at least 30 new contacts

monthly and chapters should have 15. This will allow JSA to compile a list of potential donors for rising chapters. The project will run through a new database, Chapters and states will set up pages where they can input information about themselves. Potential patrons can donate to a specific online fundraising page easily. One can create a page by visiting www. and adding personal information. Another aspect of online fundraising is the

ability to send thank you letters, an important part of establishing contacts with organizations and maintaining relationships. To reach $80,000, every JSAer must contribute. “In order to reach an ambitious goal, I call on every JSAer to raise 20 dollars this year,” Cole Aronson, National Director of Fundraising, said. “If this happens, we will have exceeded the goal of the 80k project by more than 150%. That will ensure that 2,000 JSAers, who will not be able to attend, will be able to.” If you have any questions about the 80k project, contact: Cole Aronson National Development Director Jackie Katzman Deputy National Development Director Matt Patchell Chief Development Officer Keshav Sota is a junior at the Academy for Math, Science and Engineering at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, New Jersey in the Mid-Atlantic State.

Commercial drones to enter United States, experts worried by Matthew Cohen Staff Writer Drone warfare is a powerful tool used to fight terrorism. However, many do not know its limits and consequences. A recent poll concluded that while there is overwhelming support for drone strikes, there is substantial concern about the future of drones. The controversy with drones revolve s around their use and the power to authorize drone use. The Obama administration has used drones against American citizens. On September 30, 2011, U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike in Yemen. Many people condemned this deliberate move that bypassed the judiciary. A federal judge called it “disconcerting”. To date, four American citizens have been deliberately killed by drone strikes in the Middle East. Additionally, the number of drone strikes abroad has increased four

times from 44 approved under former President Bush to 239 approved under President Obama. Another aspect of drones is their anticipated use in the United States. There is substantial evidence indicating that drones will soon be flying over the United States. A recent article concluded, “Civilian enthusiasts are getting into the act, too; they have customized drones to nab polluters, inspect drilling rigs, and take stunning pictures for movies and real estate listings.” Moreover, the commercial use of drones will not fully manifest for several years; the FAA had very restrictive rules on the commercial use of drones until recently. In February 2012, President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act into law. This law requires the FAA to develop less stringent rules. The act will also lead to an “explosion” (Scientific American) of commercial applications in 2015. With the number of drones greatly increasing

within the United States, civil liberties groups claim it will become easier and more likely for the infringement upon the fourth amendment rights. Finally, since drones are recent technologies, there is an unrefined system to ensure that people’s rights


and freedoms will be respected. “The administration has claimed the power to carry out extrajudicial executions of Americans on the basis of evidence that is secret and is never seen by anyone,” Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told David Rohde of The

Dallas Morning News. “It’s hard to understand how that is consistent with the Constitution.” Americans have not yet expressed clear anger with the President. A recent article in Newsweek describes the current phenomena, “The contemporary message is clear: Do what you have to do, President Obama. We trust you.” However, polls indicate that people are becoming more skeptical. Political analysts anticipate that this issue will reach the forefront of the political arena in the next few years. As the use of drones increases, more U.S. citizens engage in debates pertaining to drone limits and regulatory processes. A likely outcome is the establishment of a regulatory process that will ensure effective U.S. counter terrorism efforts abroad, while preserving the American rights at home. Matthew Cohen is senior at Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School in Irvine, CA in the Southern California State. He is the Southern California Chief of Staff.

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September 2013 The Junior Statement

The Governors’ Desk: A Letter from the Chairman Dear Junior Statesmen, My name is Tyler Pichette, Governor of the Pacific Northwest, and I’m honored to serve as the Chair of the Council of Governors for the 2013-2014 school year. In an effort to be transparent, this year’s Council is focusing heavily on being open with our constituents in regards to our national goals, so that those we represent will hold us accountable. This year’s council has set many big, but achievable goals. The comprehensive national theme of the year is education; however, in regards to more tangible, objective goals, CoG has set a goal for 525 tax paid chapters nationwide. We are currently in the process of developing a JSA mobile app, and hope to have 2,000 downloads on said app by the end of our term. We also would like 20,000 Facebook “likes” on the “Junior State of America” Facebook page, as well as 2,000 Twitter followers @jsajuniorstate. On a personal level, I am most excited this year about activism. JSA is often seen solely as a debate organization and people often forget that civic activism is the core of the Junior State.

The Junior State strives to promote civic activism and leadership opportunities for high school students across the country, and this year we’re really emphasizing this. For the coming year, the council hopes at least 50% of our chapters will do 1 activism project per semester, 25% two per semester, and 10% three per semester. Fully committed to the belief that a student should not turn down a convention because of financial reasons, we have prioritized development more than any council. Working with the national development department, we have launched the “80k” project to raise $80,000 across the 9 states and 1 territory for convention scholarship funds in honor of the Junior State entering it’s 80th year. Again, it is with great honor I serve the delegates of the Pacific Northwest, and my fellow Junior Statesmen across the country on the Council of Governors, and it is truly humbling to serve as Chair of such an esteemed council. The amount of potential this year is truly exciting, and I can’t wait to see all the fantastic things that statesmen and

Back row, from left: Cristian Vides (MAS), Ben Reytblat (NES), Tyler Pichette (PNW), Joshua Kisbye (NorCal), Winston Underwood (ORV). Front row, from left: Sabrina Lieberman (SoCal), Kristiana Yao (Midwest), Indre Altman (Texas), Raymond Rif (SES), Chetan Bafna (Arizona) PHOTO COURTESY OF JUNIOR STATE OF AMERICA.

stateswomen alike can accomplish for JSA and the country. Educated civic discourse is something to treasure. I always say that as our senators and congressmen in D.C. could learn a thing or two about statesmanship and ethics from the interactions between junior statesmen, and I will always stand by this belief. If anyone, student or alumni ever has

a question or a concern, I encourage you to reach out to me at tpichette@ or on Facebook. My door is always open, and I’m always willing to offer a helping hand to a fellow statesmen or stateswomen. That said, be the people! Sincerely, Tyler Pichette Pacific Northwest JSA Governor Chair of the Council of Governors

Mid-Atlantic abolishes region, creates districts by Arian Rubio Staff Writer The Mid-Atlantic State (MAS) implemented South Atlantic District system, which abolished South Atlantic Region and created three districts in its place. Before Winter Congress, the MAS consisted of two regions –New Jersey Region and the South Atlantic Region Seeing that the South Atlantic was suffering, the students asked for change, and the state assembly responded. The assembly created “A Bill to Restructure the South Atlantic”. In past years, the South Atlantic found it difficult to retain chapters and to keep remaining chapters informed because of the way the region was structured. However, the passage of the bill eliminated all those problems. The bill divided the region into three new districts – the Keystone Diamond District, the Capital District and the North Carolina District. These districts are run by District Directors under the Executive Di-


rector of the South Atlantic. District Directors work similarly to Chapter of Internal Affairs Agents and Expansion Agents. This system keeps the chapters stable and involved. “The new South Atlantic district system allows the MAS to focus far more

on Chapter Internal Affairs than ever before,” Executive Director and former Expansion Agent Jeremy Kaplan said. “With such diverse geography and environments in the South Atlantic, having just a few Chapter Internal Affairs Agents manage the entire region

was ineffective. Under the new system, our District Directors know their area and can better serve their chapters.” The goal is that one day, these districts will grow large enough and become regions. Expansion is an integral part of the MAS, which has a goal of reaching 75 chapters this year. The new system will allow the MAS to reach and exceed its goal. “Because the region was so large it was difficult to manage the chapters that existed,” Cristian Vides, former Director of Expansion and current Governor said. “The district system will make it easier to have more of a personal connection to chapters and assist in the growth of each district.” The MAS Expansion Department and the South Atlantic District Directors have been working closely to ensure the prosperity of the new districts. Arian Rubio is a senior at Rutgers Preparatory Academy in Somerset, NJ in the Mid-Atlantic State. He serves as the Mid-Atlantic Director of Expansion.

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September 2013 The Junior Statement

Chapter of the Month: Westview High School, OR by Ashley Kim Staff Writer An exemplary group of vibrant and passionate members who truly embody the spirit of democracy, the Westview High School JSA chapter from Portland, OR in the Pacific Northwest State (PNW), can hardly be recognized as the same school that had no regular meetings and only two members at Spring State 2012. It had seemed as though the chapter lost huge grip in its appeal and organization when the seniors graduated, leaving any succeeding officers in the dark. But these passionate new officers would demonstrate the celebrated initiative that sets JSAers apart from their classmates. Publicity campaigns were set up and the school was broadcasting JSA news and videos. Posters were hung and Club Rush was a huge success. In fact, the chapter landed a spot on the front page of the school newspaper. Under the stable leadership of Jackie Salzinger and Geetha Somayajula, chapter debates became more consis-

tent and the formats of the debates were varied from thought talks to teacher debates. Although the PNW consists of mostly liberal students, Westview JSA actively recruits conservative members to foster diversity in opinion. By the end of the year, 15 students were awarded with best-speaker gavels, ten of their bills were presented at Winter Congress, and six signed up to be main speakers at Spring State, where they stood out as the third largest delegation (48 delegates). Salzinger was also elected PNW Lieutenant Governor. “In a school defined by clubs whose only goal is to provide their students with college experience and an opportunity for argument, JSA stands out for its activism: members attend school board meetings and we act as a counterpoint to the constant competitiveness of our fellow clubs, “ Uma Ilavarasan, a Westview chapter member, said. The passion for civic engagement from the students is apparent through their consistent activism. In prepara-

Westview High School in Oregon went from having 2 members attend Spring State 2012 to having 48 attend the following year, making it the 3rd largest delegation at Spring State 2013. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKIE SALZINGER

tion for the 2012 presidential election, the chapter held voter drives and registration , even motivating those who previously would not have thought to vote to do so. Since attending JSA conventions can be expensive, Westview JSA increased financial accessibility through fundraisers. In the end, every student was able to attend all three conventions at

a reduced cost. It is to no surprise that Westview won PNW Chapter of the Year. Congratulations to Westview JSA on being The Junior Statement’s first-ever Chapter of the Month! Ashley Kim is a senior at Santiago High School in Corona, CA in the Southern California State. She is on Convention Support Staff on Southern California cabinet.

Students overwhelmed with affording college tuition

by Juan Hernandez Staff Writer High school students these days not only face the anxiety of getting into college, but also of finding ways to afford the education. Merely understanding college costs is challenging; however, the nation’s recent credit crisis has made the task even more arduous. The price of college is a complicated

and transportation expenses. The collective amount is overwhelming and extraordinarily difficult for a student alone to pay. However, it is not the student alone who pays the cost most of the time. On average, parents pay the largest portion of the college tuition: around 48 percent of the overall cost, whereas the student, using savings and loans, covers 33 percent of the cost. The rest is paid by LAUREN LIAO grants and scholarships concept to grasp. According to a 2008 (15 percent) as well as support from College Board survey, published tuition friends and relatives (2008 Sallie Maeand fees constitute only 67 percent of Gallup study). Middle-income families the total expenses for students enrolled usually rely heavily on loans for a larger share of their college cost; lowerin a four-year private college. This compares with 60 percent for income families obtain scholarships out-of-state students enrolled in a and grants. The government and financial public college; 36 percent for in-state public students; 17 percent for students institutions provide funding for student loans. Financial institutions— attending a public two-year college. Typical costs other than the annual banks, credit unions, thrifts and other tuition include rooming, class materials, lenders—participate in student lending

by either directly making student loans or providing the funds for federal loans. According, there are over 2,000 education lenders nationwide, with most of the volume coming from the top 50 lenders; which include many of the well-known banks and nonprofit organizations. Sallie Mae once was a government entity but is now a private corporation and the largest lender. The current financial crisis has presented extraordinary challenges for families with college-bound students. However, the country’s credit market has made the crisis worse. As the credit market tightened, loan volume dropped sharply In addition, borrowing from parents, especially through home equity lines of credit, has diminished significantly. Students who enter college face the challenge of affording it now more than ever. Juan Hernandez is a sophomore at Carpinteria High School in Carpinteria, CA in the Southern California State. He is the Channel Islands Region Director of Fundraising.

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September 2013 The Junior Statement

Ohio River Valley leads the way for JSA technology by Mica Caine Staff Writer Ever wondered who updated the state website, took pictures, or organized that live stream gubernatorial debate? In the Ohio River Valley State (ORV), State Director of Technology Michael Lahanas leads the ORV into it’s most dynamic technological JSA year yet, and sets the standard for other States across the nation. The ORV Tech Department’s motto is “Progress through Innovation,” and the department’s 2013-14 agenda represents this perfectly. ORV’s technological prowess was first displayed this year with the “September State of the State” video, an introduction to ORV’s cabinet members and their goals for their respective departments. These videos will be created monthly during the year and will include footage of chapter happenings, conventions, and messages from leadership. Videos can be seen at Lahanas, a second-year Director

of Technology, also saw the need to organize the JSA promotional materials. He created the “JSA Multimedia Vault,” with official JSA fonts, logos, posters, and promotional headings. “The goal of the Vault is to make sure everyone that needs them has access to these materials,” Lahanas said. “It also lets some of our more talented members show off their design skills, and gives the rest of us some cool things to use in the future.” The ORV Technology Dept. is also crafting a “Crisis Scenario,” where different materials (info packets, decision trees, etc.), are used to simulate a crisis. “The scenario plays out depending on which action you pick, like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel,” Lahanas said. “Tech is working to create a digitized version of this activity. It will likely be based through the ORV YouTube channel, wherein the students would go through a series of interlinked videos, each one representing a different decision and its

Ohio River Valley Director of Technology Michael Lahanas gives a presentation on upcoming projects for his department. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL LAHANAS.

outcome.” Under Director Ryan Chiu (Midwest), the National Technology Department has rolled out some new technological conveniences as well. MyJSA 3.0 and the developing JSA mobile application are just a few of the year’s projects. The National and ORV Technology Departments are creating a new precedent in the role of multimedia in

the Junior State of America. “Progress through innovation isn’t just a pretty phrase-- it’s a real way of moving forward, and forward momentum is what keeps JSA fresh and exciting” Lahanas said.

Mica Caine is a senior at Pickerington High School North in Pickerington, Ohio in the Ohio River Valley State. She serves as the Ohio River Valley Director of Public Relations.

Students across the country attend Montezuma Leadership Summit

All Montezuma Leadership Summit attendees and the Governors sit together on the last day. PHOTO COURTESY OF CALVIN CHIU (NorCal.)

by Kelly Kim News Editor The Montezuma School was founded in 1911 by Professor Ernest A. Rogers, a young man of 29, who dreamed of teaching the young about democracy and active citizenship. It was in Los Gatos, CA that the ideals of Rogers

expanded and flourished, ultimately creating the Junior State of America (JSA). Even though JSA has now become a national organization, the Montezuma School is still unforgotten. Every year, selected Junior Statesmen are invited to gather at the birthplace of JSA. This year, 64 Junior Statesmen were

chosen by their governors to attend Montezuma Leadership Summit in Los Gatos in northern Californiaw. The Summit took place from August 13-16. Activities started as soon as the delegates got to the campus. After getting to know other delegates during icebreakers, students went on a tour around Montezuma. Attendees believe that the Chapter Conference Workshop was the most memorable activity on the first day. Each group created its own Chapter Conference; among many were: SciCon, Culture Con, and DistasterCon. “The chapter conference activity was by far my favorite part,” Aakash Saraf (Texas) said. “It not only taught me how to create a chapter conference in my state, but it also helped me understand all the work that goes on before the conference happens. I was able to use my newly acquired knowledge to teach the chapter presidents in my region.” On Day 2, statesmen engaged in a plethora of activities that included workshops focused on specific topics like Activism, Communication, Statesmanship, and Chapter Strengthening. The highlight of the evening was

hearing from Debby Mendelshon, a proud alumna of JSA, talk about her journey as an activist. On the last day of the Summit, students gathered their belongings and left the campus. Though the separation was bittersweet, the experience was invaluable. “It wasn’t until I went to the Montezuma Leadership Summit that I realized just how far JSA extends and how much we can all truly accomplish as leaders,” Sam Shneyder (NES) said. “I learned to be a true Statesman.” Students also appreciated meeting statesmen from across the nation. “Zuma was an absolutely enlightening experience that allowed me to connect with other young leaders across the nation and understand the workings of this phenomenal organization on deeper level,” Joyce Xu (NorCal) said. Students returned to their states with determination to spread Roger’s words as well as utilize the skills they have gained. Kelly Kim is a junior at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT in the Northeast State. She is the Northeast Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff.

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September 2013 The Junior Statement

Boston area students given two free meals daily by Rachel Donaldson Staff Writer Last year, 78 percent of students of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and surrounding areas qualified for free or reduced price meals. A new program in the BPS and surrounding areas gives all students the opportunity to receive free breakfast and lunch, regardless of the financial situation. By choosing the federally funded Community Eligibility Option (CEO), the Boston-area public schools have waived all meal fees. The goal of the program is to give students healthy meals on a daily basis. In past years, families eligible for the program often forgot to fill out the necessary paperwork to receive meals, resulting in children missing out on nutritious food. “Every child has a right to healthy, nutritious meals in school, and when we saw a chance to offer these healthy meals at no cost to them, we jumped at the chance, “ Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a recent statement.

“This takes the burden of proof off our low-income families and allows all children, regardless of income, to know healthy meals are waiting for them at school every day.” By putting the CEO into action, children will be able to stay energized, alert, and attentive during class. Furthermore, the CEO aims to have parents be more involved in their children’s education. Families with children who previously bought school breakfasts and lunches will save between $405 and $455 per student per year. The program encourages students, who were previously eating cheap snacks as meal substitutes, to eat the free and healthy school meals. As more students eat school lunches, the overall nutrition of the school is expected to improve. The program originates from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It is currently implemented in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and will be implemented in more states in the future. Boston Public Schools’ Interim

Students in Boston Public Schools and surrounding areas are now given two free meals per day. PHOTO COURTESY OF TOBY TALBOT. School Lunch Line. 2013. Photograph. Boston.

Superintendent John McDonough told local news, “Children can focus on learning when they are well-fed, and families can focus on education when they don’t have to budget for school meals every week. We expect that every major city will join this national program

in the next few years.” The CEO is expected to be implemented in many more cities and states across the nation. Rachel Donaldson is a sophomore at Winchester High School in Winchester, MA in the Northeast State.

MidSoutHio removes third parties Schools consider “flipped setting” by Rohit Joshi Staff Writer For most Junior Statesmen in the Midwest, Southeast and Ohio River Valley, the MidSoutHio Winter Congress held in Washington D.C. is the dominant memory of their JSA career. The cornerstone of Winter Congress is allowing students to experience the legislative process of writing, proposing, and debating bills. Through a mock Congress, delegates are able to envelop themselves in the true core of United States politics. Since the United States has been primarily dominated by two major parties, it has been referred to as a “two-party system.” While there are active third parties, the government is still dominated by two major ones. Until 2013, the MidSoutHio Winter Congress aimed to expose students to more than just the traditional beliefs of the two major parties by featuring four different political parties— the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Socialist. This allowed attendees to realize there was an outlet for thoughts that differed from the mainstream. In

2013, however, the governors of the MidSoutHio states decided to feature only the Democrat and Republican parties. A benefit to this system is that it provided a clearer picture of the current Congress and political layout. It also kept out confusion about the prevalence of third parties and third party candidates in government, since most are not as influential when compared to the two major parties. There are detriments to this as well. Since students aren’t always familiar with third parties and their ideas, allowing third parties to remain a part of Winter Congress would allow students to find stances on issues that may better fit their own. Many other Winter Congresses continue to host third parties, and some continue on without the party system at all. The issue of whether to include third parties is one that is still being debated by the Council of Governors, who are open to suggestions from constituents. Rohit Joshi is a senior at Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio in the Ohio River Valley State. He is the Central Ohio District Mayor.

by Catherine Zhang Staff Writer When it comes to classroom learning, the tables are turning…quite literally. Educators across the world are experimenting with what’s known as the “flipped classroom” model, in which students to learn course material at home through online lectures and discussions, and use classroom time for collaborative work and concept mastery exercises. According to Cynthia Brame of the Center of Teaching at Vanderbilt University, “this means that students are doing the lower levels of cognitive work (gaining knowledge and comprehension) outside of class, and focusing on the higher forms of cognitive work (application, analysis, synthesis, and/or evaluation) in class, where they have the support of their peers and instructor.” The shift to the flipped classroom model is aided by two factors. First, an increasing discontentment with the current classroom system and its supposed “one-size-fits-all approach.” Second, the prevalence of online video lessons allows students to have greater access to course content. Platforms such as Khan Academy provide thou-

sands of videos over subjects such as differential calculus, macroeconomics, and organic chemistry. Proponents of the flipped classroom system claim that it levels out the playing field for students of lower socio-economic backgrounds, because it ensures that these students get support in school. Other stated benefits include increased one-on-one time with teachers and the ability for students to learn along at their own pace. Opponents of the flipped classroom system look to the digital divide, fearing that unequal access to technology will leave some students behind. Furthermore, concerns that flipped classrooms will further standardize instruction or will lead to the elimination of most teachers have been raised. As smartphones and Internet learning become more ubiquitous, the traditional learning system will encounter more attempts at reform. The flipped classroom system marks an adaptation to changing times, seeking to leave tradition in its wake. Catherine Zhang is a junior at Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas in the Texas State. She is the Convention Coordinator for the Panhandle Metroplex Region.

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September 2013 The Junior Statement

Don’t change the distractions, change the focus by Ben Lanier Staff Writer While campaigning for a New York City Public Advocate candidate, I realized many New Yorkers are concerned with the recent ruling issued by a federal judge on the constitutionality of “Stop and Frisk”. The ruling ordered the police to appoint a federal monitor to oversee the program and to ensure that the “stop and frisks” occurring are because of suspected crime, not racial profiling. Opponents suggested that such regulations would hinder police efforts to keep guns and drugs off the street. But that begs the question: why are guns and drugs on the street in the first place? The answer is that gangs and cartels are able to set up enormous political and economic institutions within impoverished communities, in a large part because the War on Drugs treats users as criminals instead of patients. This creates a never-ending cycle of drug consumers whose demand must be satisfied by illegal and dangerous means. To address the desecration of the property rights, human potential and

by Harry Petsios Staff Writer

investment potential of the communities affected by gangs, conservatives promote the fallacious and insulting argument that this issue could be solved if African Americans stopped destroying their own family units. Conservatives blame crime in minority communities on this trend, and to address this many claim that minority communities need to have Stop and Frisk- some prominent voices on the right are even explicitly advocating for racial profiling. In a similar vein, the left touts assault weapons bans and low capacity magazines as the main way to prevent crime. I support both measures, abiding by the philosophy that what is not necessary for the defense of a home is not necessary for the private citizen, but in all likelihood, these measures will have remarkably little impact on reducing crime. The most effective way to reduce crime, and to secure the property rights and investment potential of minority communities is to alter how we fight the War on Drugs, instead of promulgating showpiece legislation like Stop and Frisk and promoting assault weapons and high capacity magazine bans.


I ask Americans to not let themselves be distracted by the political elite from one of the main issues concerning this generation, the failed War on Drugs. We cannot allow the political and economic institutions of our least powerful citizens to move from being inclusive to extractive, and to set this country on a path that will deny these citizens the social mobility, justice, and security of property rights that has made the American Dream such an inspiring promise.

The fact that the establishment media is serving as the propaganda arm of the political elite now more than ever before highlights the urgency of my plea for society to shift its away from showpiece legislation, fallacious theories, and divisive policies promulgated by the political elite, and to understand the real issue facing minority communities. Ben Lanier is a junior at Stuyvesant High School in New York, New York in the Northeast State.

America: the bad cop

Ever come across the expression, “Act in haste, repent in leisure?” Clearly, no such phrase has crossed the mind of our government recently. Once again, we sit perched on a nation’s doorstep, ready for another headlong strike. For two years Syria has been engulfed in a mess of civil strife. With news of Syria’s openly breaching the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1992, the United States prepared for an armed strike against the Assad regime. The U.S. deployed components of its Navy to the Syrian coast with the intention of attacking at command. However, after negotiations between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the United States has relaxed. Still, the question remains: what is our business in Syria? Among the first topics in U.S history is the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine, despite its promise of “America for

Americans,” established our persona as a “big brother.” Although many presidents have invoked it in defense of American freedom, its purpose has been altered. Instead of providing rationale

“The time has come for Americans to turn their eyes outwards, instead of inward only, to seek the welfare of the country.” From 1902 to the present, one


for protection of the Americas, it’s been abused to warrant intervention in pursuit of our own interests. With the dawn of the 20th century came an era of American expansionism, the intent of which can be best summed up by Captain Alfred T. Mahan, the head of the Naval War College:

question remains: who dubbed us the “world’s policeman?” JSAers of Middle-Eastern lineage also question America’s role in Syria. “The United States cannot go into Syria alone and have no backing, as this would just stir hatred among the rebels towards Americans, ” Frank Nicolazzi,

maternally Lebanese, (NES) said. JSAers also fear for regional safety if America intervenes. “We should not intervene since many jihadists have infiltrated the rebels’ ranks.” Igor Portnoy (NES), of Israeli heritage, said. “If America decides to intervene and the Assad regime falls, all of their weapons will get into the wrong hands, and the safety of Israel will be threatened.” These quotations demonstrate another ramification of America’s interventionism. With our self-crafted authority, we’ve marched into countries and toppled oppressive governments in favor of revolutionaries. The void created by military withdrawal paves the way for extremists to ascend an empty ladder of power. The United States must step down from the podium of international law enforcement, put away its badge and dispose of this policeman facade. Harry Petsios is a junior at Townsend Harris High School in New York, New York in the Mid-Atlantic State

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September 2013 The Junior Statement

Why Junior Statesmen will rule the world

by Hannah Smilansky Staff Writer

If there aren’t already enough reasons to join JSA, recent reports have provided students with even more. According to a variety of studies, participating in a debate-based organization in high school can lead to many long-term benefits including enhanced leadership skills, improved critical thinking, and an ability to interact with people of all cultures and backgrounds. In a world where America’s youth are criticized for their lack of political involvement and awareness, JSA has become a crucial step in overcoming our generation’s unfortunate stereotype. JSA’s perhaps most obvious long-term advantage is public speaking. Standing in front of a room filled with teenagers while arguing a point that may very well be strongly rebutted by an opponent in the next minute takes courage

to say the least. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 75% of Americans suffer from public speaking-related anxiety. Being a part of a high-school debate club such as JSA sharpens one’s public-speaking skills early enough to prepare students for the real world. Debate alumni have also been shown to have another special skill that comes from their years of participation: critical thinking. JSA students must understand the topic of the debate (which may include outside research), analyze their opponent’s argument as well as their own, and oftentimes be able to come up with supporting or opposing points on the spot. According to The Value of Debate by Jeremy Parcher, not only does participating in debate improve critical thinking skills overall, but “competitive forensics demonstrates the largest gain in critical thinking skills” compared to any other extracurricular activity. Lastly, a long-term benefit of being

Pacific Northwest Governor Tyler Pichette (left) and Jackie Salzinger (right) speak to their consituents. PHOTO BY VICTORIA SNITSAR.

a high school debater is the many different insights that the individual gains, and is able to carry with him or her into adulthood. Think of just a few of the issues debated at JSA conventions: stem-cell research, Israel and Palestine, immigration reform. Young people involved in debate are privy to all kinds of opinions on a multitude of hot issues. Not surprisingly. a high number of American leaders are high-school debate alumni. The magazine Freedom and Union conducted a survey in 1960

A Free Education by Simran Singh Opinion Editor

We often hear others lamenting the education crisis within the nation, as they regurgitate statistics citing the United States as the 14th best nation in reading, 17th in science, 25th in math. However, while some blame the state and federal governments for allowing our education system to become so inferior to those of other nations, the discrepancy between the schools within our own country is an even graver problem. I live in a part of Pennsylvania known as the Main Line, best known for being home to wealthy executives, corporate lawyers, and high-income bracket families. The public school I attend is the 124th best high school in the nation, where most of us attain the best academic education possible, and have almost unlimited access to tutoring and college preparation courses. 95% of our class of 2012 chose to attend college. The Main Line is only fifteen miles away from center-city Philadelphia, where only 49% of their public school system’s 2012 high school graduates chose to attend college, according to Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative. Burdened by deficit, state governments no longer have the resources to allocate

the desired amount of money and funding to public schools. Last year, my school implemented an activity fee that requires students participating in the most popular clubs, sports, and extracurriculars to pay a 50-dollar fee at the beginning of the year. Though there is a possibility of the fee being waived if need be, the fact that such a fee was implemented at all means that extraordinary measures are being taken. In Michigan, Ann Arbor public schools attempted to charge 100 dollars for taking a class in the 7th hour of the day, citing such a class as optional. The American Civil Liberties Union then filed a lawsuit against the school district on the behalf of two students, arguing that such a measure was in violation of the state constitution. Rather than constantly measuring ourselves up against other nations, we must look at home and discover that the inherent problem is inequity in our schooling system at a national level. It is not surprising that when you have such a large incongruity between two schools that are within driving distance, there are even greater inconsistencies between states. The solution is to take a magnifying glass to the way in which school funding is allocated, and re-evaluate how we budget our funds. We live in a nation based on the values of fairness and parity, but without

an equal education system, we cannot possibly uphold these standards. In this great country, we believe in the principle of democracy. Democracy enables each individual, irrespective of social or economic standing to let their voice be heard by voting for elected officials. Linked closely to the principle of democracy is the idea of equality. E quality means that every person has at achieving his or her goals, provided that he or she is willing to put in the hours and the effort. In order to ensure that widespread equity is a standard we can uphold in the years to come, our public education system must become more consistent and level. Only then can we even think about how we rank amongst other nations. Simran Singh is a junior at Costenoga High School in Berwyn, PA in the Mid-Atlantic State. She is the Mid-Atlantic Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff.

and found that out of 160 political officials, businessmen, lawyers, and other professionals, 100 once participated in some form of a debate club while in school. By participating in JSA, young people are handed an opportunity to gain necessary leadership skills. It all depends on their level of engagement. We should display our debating abilities and show critics how mistaken they are. After all, we have a country to inherit. Hannah Smilansky is a senior at Interlake High School in Bellevue, WA in the Pacific Northwest State.

Staff Lilia Abecassis Editor-in-Chief

Jack Cahn

Managing Editor

Kelly Kim and Keshav Sota News Editors

Emma Seely-Katz and Simran Singh Opinion Editors

Jenny McGinty and Nithin Vejendla Events Editors

Victoria Yu

Photo Editor

Nassim Touil

Illustrations Editor

Joy Cai, Mica Caine, Matthew Cohen, Rachel Donaldson, Somnath Ganapa, Juan Hernandez, SJ Hyman, Rohit Joshi, Amanda Kaufman, Ashley Kim, Paul Kleiman, Andrew Laberee, Ben Lanier, Jasmine Lee, Pablo Ordonez, Harry Petsios, Ipsita Rao, Arian Rubio, Ahmed Shah, Hannah Smilansky, Victoria Snitsar, Laura Whelan, Catherine Zhang, and SiTian Zhang. Staff Writers

Amanda Kaufman, Lauren Liao, and Lucas Wang Cartoonists

opinion . 9

September 2013 The Junior Statement

The pros and cons of affirmative action by Joy Cai

Staff Writer

High school students approaching senior year have one primary concern: college applications. Students spend endless hours perfecting their resumes, applications, and essays. But what if their acceptance is based off of something that they have no control over? How much does one’s ethnicity and race affect his or her chances of getting into their dream school? It is common knowledge that colleges select their incoming class through consideration of one’s academics, extracurricular activities, and test scores, but do they have the right to make admissions decisions based on race or ethnicity? In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the Supreme Court ruled that colleges and universities would be permitted to consider race and ethnicity in their admission decisions for the next 25 years. Pro: Supporters of affirmative action

feel that race is an important factor in the college admissions process, giving underrepresented minorities additional benefits when applying. Along with encouraging students who wouldn’t necessarily consider applying to a certain school to do so, the policy also facilitates racial diversity on campuses and improves the level of education. “ There is value in having a class that is widely diverse and represents different racial, ethnic and religious groups,” Richard Levin, President of Yale University, told the Yale Daily News. “Yale has practiced this affirmative action since the 1960’s and will continue to do so to increase diversity among racial, cultural, and ethnic groups.” Con: The affirmative action policy harms students who do not belong to a minority, who are at the top of their class but may have a lower chance of acceptance due to their race. This belief isn’t just held amongst students belonging to races that are not considered to be minorities.


Opponents of affirmative action argue that an applicant should be admitted based on qualifications, not skin color. If one is accepted because of race and not academic achievement, they might not be able to succeed in an environment where other students

have earned their place because of their qualifications. Joy Cai is a sophomore at Walnut High School in Walnut, CA in the Southern California State. She is the Angeles Region Director of Social Activities.

The Fifth Estate Connundrum LAUREN LIAO

by SiTian Zhang Staff Writer “The Fifth Estate” details the story of Julian Assange on his journey to founding the notorious WikiLeaks. Due to be released in October, less than three months after the conviction of American government whis-

tleblower and ex-intelligence officer Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, it highlights the growing relevance of a new American controversy encompassing debates over security, liberty, and government accountability. Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars in the film as Assange said in an interview, “He took an oath, and he broke

that oath…If they are saving lives, how can we say that’s less important than civil liberties?” His comments have met widespread outrage across the Internet with comments criticizing his words and, in some cases, even calling for the boycott of his work. A year ago, I might have joined the majority of the internet denizens in their outcry against the words of Cumberbatch. Manning and even Snowden revealed despicable acts committed by the government, which then buried such acts. It is information that American citizens, need and deserve to know. In this sense, Snowden and Manning are true patriots.In order to preserve the American democracy and to inform the American citizens, they willingly placed their own lives in danger. Nonetheless, justified intentions do not provide protection in the eyes of the law. Are we willing to put our safety and the safety of this entire nation at the mercy of strangers? Today, it may be a conscientious man who believes the public needs to learn of the infringement on their privacy. Tomorrow, it may be a madman who believes

the public has the right to every detail of America’s nuclear program. Moreover, encouraging such actions from members of the armed forces and of the intelligence community destroys the integrity of those very entities created for our own protection. The United States of America, as a democracy, needs the sacrifices and contributions of men and women like Snowden and Manning. However, though their decisions protect the transparency of our democracy, they have the potential to destroy the security of the nation. “The Fifth Estate” is named after the growingly relevant fifth social class: one of non-mainstream media that seeks to directly inform and influence the public. It is the estate built by those like Assange, Snowden, and Manning. We, the Americans, cannot help but appreciate them, yet we would be foolish not to guard against them. SiTian Zhang is a junior at High Tech High School in North Bergen, NJ in the Mid-Atlantic State. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Jersey Region Star.

10 . opinion

September 2013 The Junior Statement

Should schools monitor students’ social media use? CON:

PRO: by Laura Whelan Staff Writer 15-year-old Drew Ferraro leapt off a Crescenta Valley High School building in Glendale, California, dropping to his tragic death in front of his peers. No one should feel the need to take their own life, especially in front of their classmates. Ferraro could have been helped; he had been depressed for a while, but the school was unaware of how serious his depression was. The reality is we are living in an age when, according to the i-SAFE Foundation, over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have bullied others. In addition, according to the Jason Foundation, in the United States there is an average of over 5,400 suicide attempts by adolescents in grades 7-12 every day. The Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) is taking a giant and necessary step forward in stopping the horror and heartbreak that is teenage suicide by keeping alert for warning signs. Geo Listening scans public posts and sends schools a report of distressing posts in a manageable and organized format. Since all of the posts being looked at have already been made public, no privacy is being infringed upon. Therefore, Geo Listening is not in any way violating the Constitutional rights of students. With Geo Listening, Glendale has already had a successful suicide intervention. Students are crying out for help, and, with Geo Listening, schools can hear those cries quickly, and bring those students the help they need. There are 13,000 students who are protected and guaranteed counseling if necessary. Saving lives is priceless, and the economic cost of Geo Listening is well worth it. In addition to bullying and suicide,

Geo Listening looks for keywords related to vandalism, crime, and substance abuse. The more time students abuse substances and commit crimes and vandalism, the worse those patterns become. With Geo Listening, hazardous things can be interrupted, and students can be steered toward a better path at a young age. Parents have been widely supportive of this new development in the Glendale area. There is also a free mobile application that provides an outlet

for parents and students to report bullying and vandalism anonymously. Bullying and suicides are plaguing our society, and the GUSD is right to try to keep their students safe. It is a school’s goal to provide a safe learning environment. Geo Listening provides a worthy way to protect vulnerable adolescents who are crying out to be heard. Laura Whelan is a sophomore at the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ in the Mid-Atlantic State. She is the New Jersey Region Co-Director of Fundraising .

other students are not going to continue to do their dark deeds publicly, especially when they know they are A school board in California has being watched. In fact, the students in a California approved spending taxpayer dollars to hire Geo Listening, a social media school have already created a detailed monitoring service, to stalk students’ set of instructions on how to make social media postings in order to min- sure their posts cannot be tracked.   The electronic eavesdroppers have imize cyber bullying. already saved one life from suicide, or This government endorsement of intrusion into social networking plat- so they proudly claim on their website, forms is both shocking and disturbing. which is fantastic. With that said, howProponents of government stalking ever, it is seemingly unjust to spy on argue that the government only tracks thousands in order to ferret out these individual situations the most effective approach. If you use Facebook, you know that it presents to the world your “auto-tuned” life.  If you seek truth, Facebook is not the place to turn.   Half my friends’ posts are fictional.  For some strange reason, students want everyone to think they are drunk and stoned every day. Do the spies have an effective way to parse the data they collect?  Not likely. Tragedies like the suicide committed by a Rutgers university student in 2010 cannot be halted with intrusive legislation and cannot be erased with ever-widening circles of encroachment into personal lives.   Regrettably, laws don’t change bad people.  The bad people just get smarter in their ways. I do not think the alarm has to be sounded around the nation because what happens in California LUCAS WANG is not often an accurate reflection of the country. information that is already public. Second, it is reassuring to know that Searching for key phrases that might raise flags for school administrators, Internet savvy young people can run governments and parents, they ar- technological circles around these opgue, is justified because it will protect pressive measures.   As a result, students concerned students. The release of information, with their liberty do not need to lose however, will destroy the open spirsleep.  But, in this new era of data it of the online social venues for all students – not just the few abusive mining, they do need to object, object, and object. bullies. Stalking students will not success- Andrew Laberee is a homeschooled freshfully thwart the wrongdoers who are man in Medford, New Jersey in the Mid-Atdetermined to harass. Those who are lantic State and a member of the Renaisdetermined to persecute and torment sance Council Chapter. by Andrew Laberee Staff Writer

opinion .11

September 2013 The Junior Statement

iMad about iPads in the hands of students by Somnath Ganapa Staff Writer

Once at the forefront of progress, America has since declined in terms of education. Indubitably, this decline is not only a result of the lack of educational funding but also the lack of reflection spent on reforming education. Perhaps one of the most outrageous attempts at “reforming” education is the Los Angeles Unified School District’s one billion dollar program intended to put iPads in the hands of every student within the district. This program is hardly an aberration. The Fraser Public Schools District in Michigan purchased 5,000 iPads for its students, and The McAllen School District in Texas purchased 25,000 iPads and iPod Touches for its students. The faulty reasoning behind this plan is so conspicuous that it is astonishing that this program was ever passed. Firstly, the plan inappropriately uses voter-approved school construction bonds. These voters were unaware of that their money would be allocated towards purchasing such expensive devices. Already reluctant to divert

The use of iPads in classroom will only encourage students to play games instead of listening to the teacher. Additionally, iPad use will likely result in iPad theft, misplacement, and general misuse. PHOTO BY SOMNATH GANAPA

funds to education, voters will not hesitate to sink the next proposition regarding education. As a result, this action has potentially damaged any opportunity of future increases in funding to the education system. Proponents of this plan claim that it will help close the gap between those who are economically disadvantaged and cannot afford technological devices and those who have economic flexibility and own several computers. However, these proponents fail to realize how much of a distraction these devices can prove to be.

No teacher, no matter how much training the district claims to put them through, will be able to regulate whether the student is frivolously playing on his or her iPad or attentively listening to in class and thereby using the iPad to its full academic potential. For this reason, the great amount of money invested in training teachers for such an iPad-centered curriculum will go to waste. Another problem with the plan is the expectation that these children will be responsible enough to not lose the “instructive” tablets.

Many recipients of these iPads are small children, who may have no clue about the monetary value or may lack the life skills necessary to remain organized. The district’s plan in case of a lost iPad is to deactivate the iPad, rendering it useless. In no way will this dissuade theft the slightest bit. Every year, parents of schoolchildren hope that the district will inch closer towards a more cost-effective delivery of education. As a result of this program, however, the district is definitely taking a step backwards. The major leader in the iPad movement, Dr. Jaime Aquino, has resigned just as his program is beginning to take root. Without a doubt, he will enjoy his extravagant pension while the school system will struggle. In such a tremendous period of educational decline, the state desperately needs educational reform that will hopefully be bettr thought out than such a blunder that we will be forced to pay for over the next 30 years. Somnath Ganapa is a junior at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California in the Southern California State.

Georgetown Summer School: where dreams come true

Students at JSA Georgetown Summer School stand outside the White House. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKIE SALZINGER.

by Jackie Salzinger Contributing Writer When I learned I was going to JSA Georgetown Summer School, I felt like a kid in a Disneyland advertisement. For a political junkie, the idea of visiting the “set” of C-Span is just as exciting. Even though I daydreamed about

D.C. in anticipation, I couldn’t have imagined all that Georgetown had in store for me. JSA Georgetown has the best of year-round JSA (thoughtful debates and passionate peers), with the added benefits of a fulfilling class, exciting dorm life, and, the opportunity to explore Washington, D.C. What stood out to me most was the people, the friendships that bloomed

from a common passion for civic engagement. The beautiful thing about JSA is that it’s not just “cool” to care about politics, it’s something you can simply assume about nearly everyone you meet. I got to spend time with people who also watch the news, who love to talk about politics, and who think The West Wing is the best show ever to be on television. Although we didn’t know each other at first, by the end of three weeks J.S.A. Georgetown felt like a home away from home. It’s not often you get to take a class with people outside your immediate community, much less with people from every corner of the country and even beyond. Each evening we had “Congressional Workshop,” an opportunity to debate hot political issues. Being from the Pacific Northwest, where liberals dominate, I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to people with entirely different political backgrounds and beliefs. My favorite aspect of Summer

School, unique to Georgetown, was the Speakers Program. It’s one thing to watch politicians debate on T.V., but it’s another to see them in real life. Not only did we get the chance to visit various famous locations (the Pentagon, the State Department, the Capitol – including the House floor), but we heard from a wide array of political experts and elected officials. Getting to listen to and question political “celebrities” further inspired my passion for government. My truly starstruck moment was when some friends and I ran into Senator John McCain on the street. My Summer School experience was a dream come true. I learned so much – in class and out – about politics and about myself. Georgetown was an unforgettable way to spend the summer, and the friendships made will last a lifetime. Jackie Salzinger is a senior at Westview High School in Portland, OR in the Pacific Northwest State. She is also the Pacific Northwest Lieutenant Governor.

12. events

September 2013 The Junior Statement

State cabinets convene for annual convention Southern California

Ohio River Valley


Members of the Southern California Junior State’s cabinet met for the first-ever overnight cabinet retreat on September 6th-7th at the Camarillo Marriott in Camarillo, CA. Cabinet members were also confirmed by their regional senators, a JSA tradition originally put in place to ensure all appointments were impartial. Previous Southern California Cabinet retreats took place only during Saturday; this year’s being the first to begin on a Friday night, allowing more time for departmental planning and bonding activities. “Cabinet retreat has been such a success because for the first time we’ve been able to meet in person and put the faces to the names that we’ve been seeing on cabinet emails. We’re starting to build real relationships with each other,” Lieutenant Governor Jessica Shin said. All in all, the Southern California Junior State’s cabinet is en route to truly uniting and working together as a cohesive entity.

The Ohio River Valley held a cabinet convention for its newly appointed 2013-14 state cabinet members on August 25th, 2013 at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio. First, Governor Winston Underwood gave a presentation over what the Council of Governors expected from cabinets of each State to achieve this year. After the introductory session, delegates separated into groups by their respective departments for icebreakers. Later, the departments broke out into different rooms, where directors met their agents, discussed goals and prepared a presentation to later show the rest of the cabinet members. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know and work with my cabinet colleagues,” Matthew Caldwell, Co-Convention Coordinator, said. Many of the members of the ORV cabinet entered without knowing one other, they left together ready to work together towards a brighter future for the state.

On August 24th at the Doubletree Hotel in Tucson, Arizona, the newly appointed members of the Arizona State cabinet came together for the first time for their annual Cabinet Convention. The convention was held to inform every cabinet member about the jobs they had been selected to complete and the roles they would play in the upcoming year. According to the Arizona Junior State Governor Chetan Bafna, the convention was “fantastic” and “was very smooth overall.” He felt that the new cabinet had completed everything he aimed to accomplish and more. While he would have liked to see more people attend, he feels that the convention left the Arizona State in great shape heading into the new year.

Victoria Snitsar

Victoria Snitsar

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Cabinet members met at the Sheraton Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut from August 24th to 25th. The joint-state convention allowed members from both states to acquaint themselves not only with their state cabinet members, but also with members of another Junior State. MAS Governor Cristian Vides and NES Governor Ben Reytblat led an opening session introducing the elected officials. Following introductions, each state took different paths to their own hour of state meetings and four hours of department meetings. The following morning, cabinet members began the day with a 9:00 AM joint-state meeting, in which national goals would be introduced. after two days of productivity and planning concluded, the convention concluded with a closing session led by the governors.“Everyone there was so excited to be involved, so dedicated and so optimistic for this year!” Cadence Neenan, Northeast Assistant Convention Coordinator, said. It really motivated me to work my hardest at my job and make this year the best we’ve ever seen.”


Northern California

Southeast Due to scheduling and logistic issues, the Southeastern State Cabinet was not able to meet in person. However, the first of their bi-monthly calls served as the inaugural cabinet meeting of the 2013-2014 year. During the call, members of cabinet had the opportunity to introduce themselves and express the goals they had for the upcoming year. SES Governor Raymond Rif found the meeting very productive and felt that it “pushed the Southeast in the right direction for a more united and productive cabinet.”



SJ Hyman

On September 7, the Northern California State held their annual Cabinet Confirmation, a daylong event that allows the members of the NorCal cabinet to get to know one another and get a head start on planning the rest of the year. The day also included interviews conducted by the state’s senate in order to vet the cabinet members in person, and in order to ensure that each cabinet member is qualified and committed to their new position. NorCal Governor Joshua Kisbye found the process to be a “complete success” and placed the Northern California State on a “path to achieving great things this year.” SJ Hyman


Midwest The Midwest State Cabinet members convened at the Naperville Municipal Center on August 21st , for their annual Cabinet Convention. The Midwest discussed their goals for the year, include increasing activism conventions by having activism-related debates and blocks at their upcoming Fall State convention. Cabinet members expect that increased activism content at state conventions will lead to greater awareness about JSA in the Midwest. The State is also looking forward to launching their own financial aid program in an effort to help disadvantaged students in the Midwest. The Midwest State holds the “second highest number of nationally recorded expansion contacts”, according to Governor Kristiana Yao. She recalls last year’s increased convention attendance and remains optimistic in the state’s capability to “continue that line of progress.” Given their positive record of expansion and increasing member involvement, there is no doubt the Midwest State will achieve its goals for the upcoming 2013-2014 JSA year.


Ahmed Shah

Texas Members of the Texas Junior State Cabinet met at the West University Library in Houston, TX on August 24th, 2013 for their annual Cabinet Convention. Members discussed goals and initiatives for the upcoming year and began planning for fast approaching chapter conferences within the regions. CabCon exceeded expectations with participants embodying more skill and commitment for JSA and the Texas Junior State than previously anticipated. “It was a productive, engaging day,” Austin Bryan, Speaker of the House, said. “Steps were taken in the right direction and distractions were kept to a minimal. I’d like to thank everyone for their work that started that day and will continue for the year to fight political apathy.” The Texas Junior State is ready to kick off the semester with the new leadership and determination needed for a successful and fun-filled 2013-2014 JSA year.


Victoria Snitsar


SJ Hyman



Ahmed Shah

Pacific Northwest On September 7th, the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington hosted JSA’s Pacific Northwest State Cabinet Convention. Talented delegates selected from all over the state gathered to become acquainted with other fellow cabinet members and to discuss goals for the upcoming year. After opening sessions, delegated transitioned to a mass icebreaker. Following lunch, cabinet members assembled into departments discussing the upcoming year’s strategies. As the convention neared its end, each department presented their exciting new plans to the entire cabinet. “I was very impressed by the talent we had from top to bottom in cabinet,” Governor Tyler Pichette said.


Ahmed Shah

September 2013 The Junior Statement

events .13

Fall Leadership Conferences start the new JSA year Northern California


The Northern California (NorCal) 2013 Fall Leadership Conference (FLC) was held on Saturday, September 28 at California State University, East Bay campus near San Francisco. At the conference, convention themes and officers for the new year were introduced. There were also several workshops that took place, including ones on fundraising, chapter problem solving, and Fall State registration. NorCal’s objective of this year’s FLC. was training all chapter leaders present to register for conferences, organize fundraisers, and expand their chapter. The conference also included novice debates, which allowed new JSAers to practice their debate skills and get a background of JSA. Attendees believes that FLC was a huge success in preparing them for the coming year. “FLC was one most energetic and informative experiences of my JSA career. Through this, I’ve learned how to be a better leader,” Naayl Kazmi (NorCal) said. NorCal is looking forward to continuing their success with their upcoming Fall State conference.

The Mid-Atlantic (MAS) 2013 Fall Leadership Day was held on Saturday, September 38th in Plainfield, New Jersey wih 90 delegates in attendance. As per tradition, the chapter that won Chapter of the Year the previous year hosted FLC on its campus. FLC featured workshops, including ones on debate, activism, public relations, and fundraising. For example, in the fundraising workshop, led by Roberto Ruiz, attendees drafted letters to potential donors. Many new chapter were present, hoping to gain the skills necessary to being successful. “Leadership Day provided a tool-belt to chapter leaders and members to bring back to their schools and empower their chapters for the rest of the year,” MAS governor Cristian Vides said. “With workshops ranging from how to fundraiser and how to work your Teacher-Adviser, Leadership Day 2013 provided a strong foundation for chapters across the Mid-Atlantic State.” The MAS leadership anticipates a great year for the state.



Amanda Kaufman

Southern California

Arizona The Arizona Regional Leadership Conferences were held on September 28th at the ASU Downtown Campus in Phoenix and on September 29th at Rincon High School in Tucson. The conferences were held to help train Chapter Presidents across the state and equip them with the tools and knowledge necessary to have a successful JSA chapter. JSAers from each chapter were present to represent their school and teachers and advisors were also invited to attend the conference. In addition, schools from each region helped run debates, thought talks and other activities throughout the conference. Arizona is now preparing for its next and final leadership conference at Kofa High School in Yuma on October 5th.


Lilia Abecassis

Ipsita Rao

From the top: NorCal Lieutentant Governor Akshaya Nataragan, (right), Speaker of the Assembly Michelle Timm (center) and Governor Joshua Kisbye (left) address delegates during opening session. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT YU.; SoCal attendees sit in on a debate. PHOTO BY VICTORIA YU.; MAS delegates give a presentation on voting. PHOTO COURTESY OF PRIYANKA TODDYWALA.

The Southern California (SoCal) 2013 Fall Leadership Conference (FLC) was held on Sunday, September 29th at the Los Angeles International Airport Marriott. At the conference, over 400 delegates were introduced to the new plans and activities for SoCal JSA in the coming year. For those new to JSA, there were several novice debates. There were also workshops, on topics like moderaing and public relations. Special to SoCal, the Senate also debated very crucial pieces of legislation that will most definitely map the course of the state in years to come. Attendees believed that this year’s conference was a huge success, and that it allowed them to get a good grasp on SoCal JSA under its new leadership. “Our record breaking numbers and high level of enthusiasm at the Fall Leadership Conference foreshadow a fantastic 2013-2014 JSA year,” Daniel Hamidi, Speaker of the Assembly, said. SoCal JSA is looking forward to hopefully breaking more attendence records in the future.


Pablo Ordonez

14 . events

September 2013 The Junior Statement

JSAers and local judges celebrate Constitution Day by Jasmine Lee Staff Writer

On September 17, citizens across the United States celebrated Constitution Day, which honors the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Both federal political and judicial figures as well as Junior Statesmen from across the nation celebrated the holiday in a multitude of ways. Judges and politicians took time to participate in local events and contribute to the education of youth. Prominent judges visited universities, high schools and middle schools to speak to students about the importance of basic rights and voting. In Indiana, judges visited more than 119 classes and spoke with over 3,000 students from fourth grade through high school. Some immigrants chose to celebrate Constitution Day by becom-

ing U.S. citizens. Naturalization ceremonies were held across the country to celebrate the occasion. Some of the various locations where such ceremonies took place were in Sacramento, California and Atlanta, Georgia. It was a special night for new U.S. citizens across the country. Constitution Day emphasizes the importance of the foundation of the country, and Junior Statesmen like Ernesto Ambrocio (SoCal) celebrated by carrying around a pocket constitution. Ambrocio, who spent time during the summer in Washington, D.C, interning for Congressman Pete Sessions, has his pocket constitution signed by numerous politicians, like Senator Ted Cruz. Payten Kirby (SoCal) also celebrated by bringing her pocket Constitution to class and bringing up the holiday in class discussions.

Ernesto Ambrocio (SoCal) holds up his pocket Constitution signed by numerous politicians inclduing Senator Ted Cruz. PHOTO BY LILIA ABECASSIS .

“Very few people would notice when Constitution Day is, but those few active people would be JSAers,” Ernesto Ambrocio (SoCal) said. Although Constitution Day is not as emphasized as other federal holidays, it still serves as a hope for

the future and as a recognition for the achievements this country has made. Jasmine Lee is a junior at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, CA in the Southern Califrnia state.

50 years of the dream: Texas chapter honors MLK by Connor Burwell Contributing Writer On August 28th, 2013, Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, Texas celebrated the 50 th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Carnegie’s JSA chapter spearheaded the schoolwide initiative. In the spirit of Dr. King’s notion that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” the Carnegie JSA chapter organized a break in classes at the original starting time of King’s speech. Led by Chapter President Connor Burwell and Teacher Advisor Andrew Dewey, the group broadcasted King’s entire speech to the school community during a break between classes. The broadcast was successful in engaging stu-

dents and teachers with Dr. King’s inspiring words. The chapter felt that it was necessary to promote the historic day because doing so would not only commemorate his heroic actions, but would also serve as a warning against engaging in the racial prejudice and discrimination that still exist in our society. “I believe in Martin Luther King’s dream, and I’m ecstatic to play a role in spreading his message,” Sam Finkel, a member of Carnegie’s JSA chapter, said. “Being able to participate in commemorating this speech helped me realize that we can really make a difference in the world around us.” The Carnegie chapter “let freedom ring!” by spreading Dr. King’s powerful message and inspiring students. They urged the student body

Students at Carnegie Vanguard High School watch the MLK broadcast during class. PHOTO COURTESY OF CONNOR BURWELL.

not to let the message of the speech end as the TV monitors turned off and classes continued. Carnegie JSA challenged all of the students on their campus with the responsibility of reflecting on what they are doing to promote equality. Carnegie

JSA wants to expand this question beyond its own state. Ask yourself: “Are you making King’s dream a reality? Connor Burwell is a junior at Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, Texas in the Texas State. He is the Texas Director of Debate.

September 2013 The Junior Statement

profiles .15

Meet the Council of Governors Tyler Pichette, Pacific Northwest

Sabrina Lieberman, Southern California

Tyler first joined JSA his sophomore year, and was hooked from the beginning. This year, he looks to building off the unprecedented growth and success in the Pacific Northwest last year, while focusing on further developing activism in his state. Tyler’s goal for PNW Fall State is 500 people, and his goal for tax paid members by the end of the year is 1,000. Tyler enjoys dancing in the rain, long walks on the beach, DJ Snake, and a gluten free diet.

Sabrina joined JSA as a freshman after an exhilarating experience at Spring State 2011. She was inspired by the eloquence and intelligence of the delegates, as well as the incredible respect in the community. Eager to be involved, she attended the Arizona Institute in June 2011 and joined cabinet as a Chapter Coordinator. Sabrina was elected Angeles Region Mayor in 2012, after which she attended Georgetown Summer School. Sabrina is confident that she can run the state as competently and successfully as she has run her region.

Joshua Kisbye, Northern California

Kristiana Yao, Midwest

Joshua Kisbye is currently a senior at University High School in Fresno, California. He attended Fall State 2010 and instantly fell in love with the organization. Since being elected Central Valley Region Senaotr, Joshua has held a multitude of Cabinet postitons, and served past year as the Director of Chapter Affairs. Joshua is also a graduate of Montezuma Leadership Summit, and JSA Summer School at Stanford and Georgetown. Besides JSA, Joshua is an officer in the U.S. Air Force’s Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, an Eagle Scout, and serves on his school’s honor commission. In his free time, he loves to swim, run, sleep, and spend time with his three younger siblings.

Indre Altman, Texas Indre has been a member of JSA from the beginning of her freshman year, having served as the Gulf Coast Region Senator and Texas Director of Public Relations. Under her leadership, Texas JSA’s Public Relations department expanded its reach through publications for Fox News and the Houston Chronicle, and served its communities through voter registration drives and volunteer events. Indre also enjoys geology, graphic and costume design, and routine readings of National Geographic. Indre is excited to serve Texas JSA during her term, and is looking forward to a fantastic year.

Raymond Rif, Southeast Raymond is a senior at Nova High School. Elected Governor of the Southeast state on a platform on of prosperity and communication, he plans to bring a golden era to the Southeast State. Raymond first got involved with JSA at Fall State 2010. He soon got involved in his chapter’s leadership, he was elected chapter president shortly after. Besides his involvement in JSA, Raymond enjoys debate, water polo, and is an avid Miami Heat fan.

Winston Underwood, Ohio River Valley Winston Underwood is currently serving as the Ohio River Valley Governor for 2013-2014. Winston worked on the chapter level as vice president and chapter president, and on the state level as Central Ohio District mayor, Muckraker copy editor, and the organizer of chapter challenge. Winston’s first convention was Fall State of his sophomore year, where he knew JSA would remain a part of his high school career. This year he hopes to accomplish a 90% retention rate in the ORV, record breaking convention attendance, and an outstanding fundraising department. Outside of JSA, Winston enjoys mountain biking, camping and fishing in Northern Michigan, and working with spreadsheets.

Kristiana joined JSA at the start of her freshman year. During her time in the Chapter Internal Affairs Department, Kristiana increased convention attendance through standardized communication with chapters, implemented the moderator checklist and debate information sheets, an established Teacher Adviser appreciation projects. Outside of JSA, she has lobbied in Washington D.C., volunteers around the community, and is certified as a nursing assistant in the state of Illinois. She looks forward to a phenomenal year of continued progress in the Midwest. Kristiana is a senior at Naperville North High School in Illinois.

Ben Reytblat, Northeast Ever since he first saw his reflection in a spoon, Ben knew he wanted to become a male model. After turning down job offers from Old Spice and the Syrian Government, Ben ditched his flourishing career as a model and decided to pursue his true passion: civic activism. Ben joined JSA his freshman year and immediately fell in love. Serving as Convention Coordinator and a Chapter President during the 2012-2013 school year, he decided to run for Northeast State Governor. As Governor, Ben plans to expand JSA, retain its members, and increase the enthusiasm surrounding events and initiatives.

Christian Vides, Mid-Atlantic Lured by his friends and free food, Cristian joined Plainfield JSA as a freshman. He has previously served as New Jersey Region Chapter Internal Affairs Agent, and the Mid-Atlantic StaDirector of Expansion. He attended Georgetown Summer School this past summer. Cristian plans to increase convention attendance, unify the Mid-Atlantic State, and maintain communication between chapter presidents and cabinet. Outside of JSA, Cristian is his school’s liaison to the Board of Education, Chief of Staff of Student Council, and a speaker for the New Jersey Forensics League, all while keeping time for casual soccer matches on the pitch.

Chetan Bafna, Arizona Chetan Bafna ran for the governor of JSA Arizona because he loves the organization and its members. He joined JSA only seven months ago at Kofa High School in Yuma, Arizona and after his first meeting; he knew he couldn’t turn back. Since then, he’s been an extremely active member of the chapter. Chetan’s goals for JSA are to increase media exposure, utilize better communication tools such as Skype, and increase student feedback to make conventions even better. Besides JSA, Chetan is extremely passionate about agriculture, science, mycology and politics. He has won top prize all three science fairs that he’s taken place in and grows plants as a hobby.

16 . profiles

September 2013 The Junior Statement

Meet the National Cabinet David Cahn (Northeast)

Lilia Abecassis (SoCal)

Emma Jackson (ORV)

National Chief-of-Staff

Editor-in-Chief of The Junior Statement

National Director of Public Relations

David Cahn is JSA’s National Chief-of-Staff. In this role, he works with the Council of Governors to plan, direct, organize, and carry out JSA’s national goals. Known for his straight-talking attitude, David’s top priority is getting the job done, which he does with grace and efficiency. He believes that Cabinet’s job is to help every JSAer unleash their potential by providing them with the structure and support they need to succeed. Outside of JSA, David is a nationally ranked debater in, a budding entrepreneur, and an avid reader of The Economist. He is a senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York City.

Lilia Abecassis joined JSA after attending Winter Congress 2013. Her position allows her to combine her biggest interests, politics and journalism. Her goals for The Junior Statement include publishing monthly issues as well as having a blog updated daily and a Junior Statement app. Outside of JSA, Lilia competes for her school’s Model United Nations and Academic Decathlon teams, serves as Business Manager for her school’s paper, and participates in the Jewish Student Union. She also enjoys watching hockey (go Kings!), wearing oversized sunglasses, and maintaining her long-term relationship with Netflix. She is a senior at University High School in Irvine, California.

Emma Jackson would like to see JSA become a prominent household name, and she believes it is possible. Growing up in a small town, Emma realized how important local news is to a major organization and this year, the Public Relations Department will focus on getting the word out about both national JSA events and individual chapters accomplishments. It will also utilize social media and work closely with the Technology Department to create a cohesive image of JSA. Outside of JSA, Emma is a member of her school’s forensics team and she plays a variety of instruments and volunteer around her community. She is a senior at Danville High School in Danville, Kentucky.

Maya Gianchandani (Midwest)

Timothy Kang (SoCal)

Ryan Chiu (Midwest)

National Director of Outreach

National Director of Debate

National Director of Technology

Maya Gianchandani’s involvement in JSA began during her freshman year of high school. Since then, she’s devoted herself to chapter outreach and expansion, serving extensively on Midwest Cabinet in years past as well as on her own school chapter board. As National Director of Outreach, her purpose is to instill chapter vitality as well as augment the prevalence of JSA, expanding across the country and overseas to American and International Schools.Outside of JSA, Maya enjoys the arts; she is a dancer, pianist, and an intern at a diabetes research laboratory. She is a senior at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Timothy Kang joined JSA his freshman year and became a dedicated member following his first Spring State. He enjoyed the forum that JSA provided for students to share their thoughts and knowledge, as well as the opportunity to challenge other students. In both the VNHS chapter and the Debate Department, Timothy worked his way up to Chapter President and National Director of Debate, respectively. Timothy also serves as the editor-in-chief of his school paper, captain of the Science Bowl team, captain of the Math Team, etc. He is a senior at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California.

From a young age, Ryan has been exposed to a wide array of different technologies, and to this day, is constantly searching for new applications. Not only is Ryan the National Director of Technology, but he is also a Software Engineer for the Chicago Sun-Times, and a Computer Programmer for Spantree Technologies, Inc., He also uses his technological prowess to run his own online businesses. In JSA, Ryan aims to expand the organization’s reach through mobile devices and further advancements in social media. He is a senior at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in lives primarily in Chicago, Illinois.

Andrew Plotch (Mid-Atlantic)

Cole Aronson (Mid-Atlantic)

Jackie Katzman (Arizona)

National Director of Acitivism

National Director of Development

Andrew hopes to bring new initiatives to every chapter, the Fight Apathy campaign to every school, and Youth Advisory Boards to every state. Last year, he served as Bergen County Academies Chapter President and a New Jersey Region Director of Debate. Because of his environmental and civic activism, he’s been recognized by organizations like Amnesty International and the World Wildlife Fund and was honored with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives-Puffin Youth Activism Award. Andrew is also an avid juggler and likes to solve Rubik’s cubes. He is a senior at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Cole Aronson has been a taxpaid member since freshman year. He joined JSA for the standard reasons: debates and the dance, and soon learned that JSA is unique for its simultaneous promotion of civic community and liberal-mindedness. He was elected MAS Lieutenant Governor on the slogan, “No one should be priced out of the marketplace of ideas,” and his team raised over $11,000 for scholarships. He looks forward to helping states and chapters succeed in providing all their members with a place at the table. For fun, Cole enjoys watching Breaking Bad and reading the Wall Street Journal. He is a senior at the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland.

National Deputy Director of Development Jackie Katzman became involved in JSA after attending Stanford Summer School in 2011. She was immediately captivated by all of the people and incredible opportunities JSA offered. Since her initial JSA experience, she has served on State Cabinet, attended Princeton and Georgetown Summer School, and is also an alumnus of the Montezuma National Leadership Summit. Jackie is excited to be working in development this year, and to help to give back to such an amazing organization. Outside of JSA, Jackie enjoys running cross-country and track. She is a senior at Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Junior Statement September 2013 Edition  

The official publication of the Junior State of America

The Junior Statement September 2013 Edition  

The official publication of the Junior State of America