Junior State of America presents its official monthly newsletter...
THE JUNIOR STATEMENT AUGUST 2012 EDITION
IN THIS ISSUE... JSA Summer School JSA Institute Council of Governors Montezuma Conference Civic Impact Award Paul Ryan/Rob McKenna
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FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT JSA VISIT: WWW.JSA.ORG Contact Editor-in-Chief, Anthony Kayruz, at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in submitting pieces for publication
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF’S DESK Dear Reader, I would like to cordially welcome you to the first installment of the 2012-2013 The Junior Statement. The Junior Statement is a bi-monthly magazine that is sent to tax paid JSA members and teacher advisers across the nation and is publicly available for viewing online through the national JSA website. Its contents consist of student-written submissions that rang from reports about JSA events, conventions, and chapters to general opinion articles about divisive issues. The Statement aims to increase political, cultural, and social awareness in an effort to promote civic engagement and social justice in America’s youth. The August Edition includes articles that recapture important JSA moments from this past summer and touches upon popular, public matters that concern everyone in the United States. However, there may be a topic of importance to you that is not covered in this month’s release. If this is the case, I encourage you to voice your opinion about such an issue by writing and sending your work to The Junior Statement. Being included in The Junior Statement is an honor and simultaneously an opportunity that no politically interested citizen should decline. I hope all of you take advantage of this outlet and submit pieces for publication.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Council of Governors..............3 JSA Summer School................4 JSA Institute............................5 Montezuma Conference..........6 Importance of JSA Chapters....7 Civic Impact Award.................8 Paul Ryan/Rob McKenna........9
Please contact me via email at email@example.com if you are interested in contributing to The Junior Statement. Sincerely, Anthony Kayruz
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The Junior Statement August 2012
GOVERNORS’ DESK Dear Junior Statesmen and Stateswomen, The Council of Governors, commonly referred to as “CoG,” is often viewed as an elusive, obscure body with a generally unknown purpose. However, this body of the ten Junior State Governors has a clear duty to ensure that the JSA states remain connected, cohesive, and best able to serve every single member in the nation. There is often a joke amongst JSA students that JSA functions as the Articles of Confederation – strong state government, but virtually no national unity. However, we as a Council wish to fight that precedent by connecting the nation, while still allowing each state to take on a unique identity. CoG meets three times a year: in May and August in the JSA headquarters in San Mateo, California, and in December in Washington, D.C. These meetings are designed to carry out our five duties as a national body. In July, the Council of Governors appointed seven members of National Cabinet to help spearhead the completion of national goals and responsibilities. Firstly and most importantly, our job is to unite the organization. Secondly, we sit as a legislative body and set policy for the organization in our National Constitution (revisions or changes are carried out by means of the Council’s approval). Next, we handle finances for the organization, such as convention fees, leadership conferences, and general administrative costs. We also work extremely hard toward bettering our national strategic communication, leveraging the power of the media to ensure that in political and education circles JSA is known as the premiere student-run organization. Lastly, our most important responsibility is to support the chapters, providing them with up-to-date relevant curriculum guides, monthly debate topics and activism activities, and encouragement to remain consistent and thriving. In our August meeting, we set goals for the entire nation – results we would like to see across every single JSA state. In short, these goals include upward growth in each state through retention of chapters, improvement of our public relations, and a majority of our chapters participating in civic activism projects. The Council endorses five exciting activism projects for the next year. In order to harness the excitement of 2012 Presidential Election, the Council will produce guides to encourage chapters to host Debate Watch Parties, Voter Registration Drives, and 2012 Mock Elections. After the 2012 Election, two other civic activism projects we encourage are attending School Board meetings and Letter Writing Campaigns. The Council will also have nationally-endorsed chapter activities for Constitution and Citizenship Day, which is September 19. Each JSA chapter has limitless potential to greatly impact their respective schools and communities, and this year, the Council and its National Cabinet will be releasing guides and activities to give chapters the tools they need to thrive. We are looking forward to an incredible year of serving you! Sincerely, Julianna Joss Chairwoman, Council of Governors
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JSA Georgetown Summer School By Richard Larkin McClay
If you asked the majority of high school students what their plans were going to be over their summer vacation, not many would say they are going to school over the summer for three weeks to take a college level class on politics and government. The last thing most teenagers want to do is go to school over their big summer break. But for those couple hundred that did attend a JSA Summer School like I did at Georgetown University, it was an experience that forever changed them and their future. The JSA Summer School pro-
ton D.C. Within the first days of the program, we were already at Capital Hill questioning and listening to congressmen, journalists, and lobbyists. Speakers Days occurred two to three times each week and included places like Capitol Hill, The Pentagon, U.S. Department of State, and embassies, like those of nations such as Greece, France and Afghanistan. At each Speakers Day, students listened to and questioned five to seven different speakers. The speakers were widely ranged ideologically, bringing a distinct opinion to the dialogue. Every day was a
gram is a transformative experience for those who want to make a difference in the world today. During my stay at Georgetown University, where this prestigious program was being held, I was instantly immersed into the realm of political science by being in the heart of our nation, Washing-
new adventure, and I donâ€™t think I have ever been that excited to get up at 6:30 in the morning every day in my life. Aside from the Speakers programs and course work, I have made just as strong or stronger relationships with the people I met at Georgetown than I have with my
friends who I have known for years. This seeming anomaly is due to the fact that the people I met at the JSA Summer School had the same interests as I did, and therefore could relate to me better. All of us want to make a difference in the world, and the summer school at Georgetown was a place where my classmates and I could learn together and make early acquaintances for when we meet again in the future. I am not in JSA nor do I have a chapter at my school. But after seeing what kind of an impact the program had on me and knowing that being a year round JSA member continues that passion for public service, I would want to bring those experiences home by talking with my peers and possibly starting a new JSA chapter in my area. But overall, I can say that during that time period of three weeks, not only did I learn about politics, government, speech, hard-work, and ethics, but I also learned a great deal about myself. I have always been interested in politics, but after going to Georgetown, I can say that I am even more inspired and motivated to pursue public service in the future. You donâ€™t have to be in JSA to get something out of this program, we are all there for the same reason. We want to learn how to be leaders in our society and make a difference in the world. The JSA Summer School was the best place for a first step in that direction.
The Junior Statement August 2012
JSA Princeton Institute By Brandon Lecoq
Princeton Institute was great as it packed so much information and excitement into just a few short days. To begin, Princeton is a great location that is easy to get to via public transportation and has small town nightlife. The area is filled with local restaurants and cafes, and many places are open late. Also, at the University, one shares a room with three other people – a residential situation that broadens connections and friendships. The program got started the day of arrival by immediate political discussions. Fellow JSAers and I were introduced to a team at the Korean Economic Institute from D.C. who created a six party talk simulation for us. At each table, each one of us represented a different country and had our own secretive agenda. We had to formulate a deal, and if we
achieved what our country wanted, we got more points. Later, we also had a few educational classes on leadership in which we had to describe the different aspects of effective leaders. We also had to
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list different great leaders. The two most controversial listed were Hitler and Jesus. Our instructor told us that, though controversial, they are listed every year, and as Junior Statesmen, we had to respect each other’s opinions. One early morning, we drove to New York City to visit the UN. While at the United Nations, we had the chance to hold a conversation and debate with many UN Representatives from Egypt and Syria about nuclear weapons. After staying many hours at the UN, we were allowed two hours to roam around the city and eat before driving back home. In the next few days, we then had a meeting with three FBI agents from New Jersey who talked to us about our National Security protocols, advised us on safety, and lectured about how they work with
other agencies. Later that day, we also talked to Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey Senate President, who taught us how to become good leaders and represent the people of America. He also shared with us
the story behind his political career and explained how he, originally a construction worker, became a politician to advocate for special education because he has an autistic child. Princeton Institute was ultimately a great experience, combining a mix of travel, great speakers, new friends from across the country, and enough free time to visit and hangout in Princeton – aspects that allowed everyone to truly live the college life.
Visit jsa.org to learn more about JSA Summer Institutes and Summer Schools
Montezuma Leadership Summit: Where Bikes Fly By David Cahn
Have you ever tried to fly a bike? Have you skied on leaves? Have you raced through a forest? Have you ever kept a Bobcat as a pet? Have you used traps to capture animals or raced around on horses instead of studying? If like me, you haven’t - you’ve missed out. At the Montezuma School for Boys, young men spent their mornings studying and their afternoons having fun in a whole lot of crazy ways. Creativity and fun were just as much a part of the learning process as books and memorization. It was here, in one of the most prestigious high schools in America at the time, that the Junior State of America was born. Professor Ernest Rogers, who founded the school in the early 20th century, created it with the unique aim of empowering students through freedom, creativity, and selfgovernance. If students were exposed to the merits of a democratic society at a young age, he believed, they would be stronger for it and develop into capable leaders. Together with his students, he formed the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run organization in which students from all over America could benefit from interacting with their peers and engaging in the democratic process. Now, decades later, the Junior State is over 10,000 members strong, and with nine States, we are larger than Professor Rogers could have ever imagined. In his memory, the Montezuma Foundation sponsors sixty students every year to attend the Montezuma Leadership Summit in Los Gatos, California. This year’s delegates, chosen by their Governors to be trained as the future leaders of their respective states, spent four
exciting days in the birthplace of JSA, learning from each other, studying leadership, and preparing for an amazing year in the Junior State. Workshops trained the delegates in various skills from expansion and chapter leadership to conference management and fundraising. In one simulation, students were asked to construct their own Chapter Conference (formerly known as a minicon) with debates, an agenda, and a thorough plan for the event. One team named their event the YOLOcon – not surprisingly, theirs got last place. Others included: Disneycon, Wonkacon, and Defcon. The winning Chapter Conference was SpyCon – emphasizing national security, gun rights and featuring diverse debate formats. One of the weekend’s highlights was a crisis scenario in which students were separated based on their leadership styles. The 5 C’s of leadership were: Compassionate, Compelling, Confrontational, Compliant, and Collaborative. Students had to ward off a war with North Korea in a challenge that was so difficult that only team Compelling won! Students closed the weekend with a graduation ceremony in the Redwood Grove (home to trees over 300 ft. tall!) where they were addressed by John Loyd, President of the Montezuma Foundation, and Alex Evans, President of the Junior State’s Board of Directors, who discussed today’s political climate from his perspective as a pollster. During this life-changing conference, students not only learned necessary skills that they would need to lead their Chapters and State but also made lasting relationships with an amazing group of friends. They might not have flown bikes, but they definitely had a lot of fun.
The Junior Statement August 2012
The Importance of JSA Chapters
By Sabrina Lieberman
Although the Southern California state is renowned for its phenomenal conventions and stimulating onedays, it is the essential efforts of both chapters and their leaders that establish such a prosperous JSA state. The Chapter Affairs Department plays a requisite role as the primary liaison between both chapters and the JSA SoCal cabinet. By maintaining regular contact with chapter leaders, coordinators are able to swiftly understand and resolve difficulties before they become detrimental to chapter welfare. Chapters also provide coordinators with critical feedback on JSA events and initiatives. As chapters comprise the entirety of the JSA state, it is vital that their requests be acknowledged; thereby confirming the connection between each delegate and the executive cabinet. Ultimately, the relationship between a coordi-
â€œChapters are the backbone of JSA.â€? - 2011-2012 SoCal Governor nator and the chapter presidents with whom he or she corresponds sets an important precedent for communication between all JSA members throughout the year. Through my experience as a chapter coordinator, I had the unique opportunity to work closely with the executive officers of many chapters. Chapter presidents are an integral part of JSA, as their attitude and work
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ethic become the boon or blight of chapter success. Fortunately, many leaders work diligently to ensure the growth and stability of their chapters. These devoted presidents continually cultivate thriving chapters; garnering much deserved respect from their members and earning an esteemed position in the JSA community. However, for every admirable chapter president there remains an upsetting few who are either unappreciative or apathetic towards an exceptional leadership experience. Luckily, it is the responsibility of the Chapter Affairs Department to encourage these leaders to learn a lesson from their conscientiousness counterparts. As a chapter coordinator, I learned to appreciate my rare insight into both the chapters and cabinet of the Southern California state. Currently serving as Angeles Region Mayor, I am discovering the important role of each chapter as a member of the region. At both one-days and chapter conventions, I am constantly impressed by the organization and innovation on the chapter level. Finally, throughout my time at JSA, I have found that each and every member of the JSA state proves indispensible, and that without the dedication of our extraordinary students, JSA would be unable to flourish as it currently does. Despite our varying positions in the community, we must not forget that each delegate remains merely a vertebra, and that we must work together to strengthen the backbone of JSA.
2011-2012 National Civic Impact Award: John Burroughs High School The top JSA chapters from around the country compete annually for the National Civic Impact Award. The award recognizes the JSA chapter that makes the biggest impact on increasing the level of civic awareness and engagement at their school. By Grant Crater John Burroughs JSA began the 2011-2012 school year with an unprecedented motivation to improve. Through hard work and the cohesiveness of a family, our members took home the Chapter of the Year Award for Southern California as well as the prestigious National Civic Impact Award. It goes without saying that all of these things were not easy to accomplish, but it is also important to understand that every chapter in the nation is capable of achieving the same level of improvement. No matter what size, location, or level of experience your chapter may have, if you’re willing to put forth the same effort, there is no reason why you too can’t lead your chapter to the same level of success. There are certain things we did throughout the year that we hope others will choose to emulate. For example, our school had a brand new athletic field, which our seniors were told was their graduation site. They were all very excited to be the
first class to graduate on “Memorial Field 2.0”, so they were shocked and angry when they were told they would instead be graduating at an off-site location. As a group we saw an opportunity to utilize our role on campus. We organized and advertised a debate about changing the graduation location back to the field. The classroom where we held our debates was filled to the brim with over 120 students. We passed around a petition, filmed the debate, and sent both to our principal. The very next week we reconvened, this time with the principal in attendance, and sure enough, the class of 2012 was the first class to graduate on the new field. It may sound cheesy, but I encourage you all to find your Memorial Field. That is, find an issue that students at your school feel a personal connection to and use it to your advantage. After the whole campaign had ended, we were 115 tax paid members strong, over 70 members more than our Chapter had ever had in its history. Aside from the field, our chapter did its best to stay involved and give back to the community. We
held a book drive for our school library, bringing in over 150 books. Several times throughout the year we made trips to school board meetings, city council meetings, and other events in the city of Burbank. In my opinion our greatest accomplishment was raising over 700 dollars for Camp Ronald McDonald House Charities in the benefit of pediatric cancer patients. Within the JSA sphere, we hosted two chapter conferences, attended conventions in record numbers, and two of our members were elected to statewide office, Senator Melissa Tapia, and myself for Lieutenant Governor. At the end of the day though, what I’m most proud of is how such a diverse mix of people came together under the mantle of Junior Statesmen and made a positive, lasting impact on those around us. That is a sense of satisfaction not to be equaled by any award.
The Junior Statement August 2012
The Rise of Paul Ryan By Iman Baghai
After months of chitter chatter and endless counts of gossip, Romney has made his decision about who he thinks has the right “vision for the country”, and that person is Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. So, let’s congratulate Paul Ryan on this accomplishment: he joins a clique of only 34 other individuals to be named the GOP Vice-Presidential pick. Let’s not discuss whom he could have picked, but rather what the Paul Ryan pick means. After Romney lost a lot of traction to Obama in the polls in July, this pick may give Romney some time to recover from being called a wimp by Newsweek as the world exercises its presumed subpoena on Ryan and digs up every piece of dirt they can.
Romney’s pick brings a VicePresidential candidate that openly wants to reform Social Security and Medicare at a national level for a national audience – something that is viewed as a traditional gaffe for a
politician. Ryan also signals a shift to the fiscally radical wing of the Republican Party – one that may
rally the Republican base to the voting polls on Election Day. Ryan will begin a very intelligent economic policy to the table; he has been a key player in the Republican budget proposals as the Chair of the House Budget Committee and introduced alternate budget plans to both Obama’s 2012 and 2013 budgets. Ryan may not be as unknown as Sarah Palin, but still 45% Republicans say they don’t know him well enough to form an opinion. However, he will square off with VicePresident Biden on October 11, and hopefully he won’t have SNL saying he sees Canada from Wisconsin. My gut tells me he’ll fare better in the public’s eye than the last Republican VicePresident candidate.
By: Iman Baghai
of his campaign’s efforts on education: “Young voters should be concerned about our education system, and my campaign has emphasized improving and funding our education system from the beginning.” However, like most other states, Washington has had major budget problems over the last several years. But, McKenna says that won’t stop his agenda because “the state budget is projected to grow by 36% over the next eight years which is over $11.3 billion, and we will prioritizing education funding as the state budget grows.” He also feels that the education system needs reform: “You cannot simply put more money into the same system and get better results, so we will need to reform and inno-
vate in the delivery of education.” This bold move to make education the top issue in his gubernatorial campaign may help McKenna be the first Republican Governor of Washington in 32 years. The last Republican Governor of Washington was one-term Governor John Spellman in 1980. Most polls between McKenna and his Democratic opponent, Congressman Jay Inslee, have them neck and neck. However, McKenna tells all citizens that “the best way to appreciate our political process is to volunteer for a campaign and support a candidate you believe in. You can study government and politics in school, but the best way to really understand the process is to volunteer your time.”
Source: Getty Images
Interview with Rob McKenna
I had the opportunity to interview Washington State’s Attorney General Rob McKenna on behalf of the Junior State of America. McKenna served two terms on the King County Council before being elected Attorney General for Washington in 2004 – a position in which he still holds. McKenna was elected the President of the National Association of Attorney Generals and named Outstanding Attorney General in 2011. McKenna is now trying to recapture the Governor’s mansion for the Republican Party in November. When I approached him about his upcoming election, McKenna explained to me that he focuses much
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The Junior Statement August 2012