On January 20th, 2018, the Naperville Central chapter of the Midwest State hosted the first chapter conference of the new year, AmeriCon. The conference began with attendees convening in the Little Theater for a brief message from Chapter President Shirley Wu, Vice President Waverly Dooling, and Director of Publicity Soumya Ramineni, who expressed their gratitude and excitement for the upcoming debate sessions.
The day was split into numerous blocks – three of them dedicated to exploring a different aspect of American policies (congressional/constitutional, social, and international), one dedicated to fun activities (RISK debates and moral dilemmas), and one reserved for lunch. During the first block, students had the opportunity to debate a variety of resolutions, from past Supreme Court Cases to the recent GOP tax bill. New subsequent speakers were warmly encouraged by experienced and enthusiastic moderators.
During the second block, students had the option to engage in a thought-provoking discussion about lowering the numbers of people who commit suicide and/or have mental disorders in our country. Numerous aspects were touched upon, including but not limited to the causes of suicide and mental disorders, how family members view the subject, and how to destigmatize mental health as a whole. This block also featured heated discussion about racial representation in Hollywood and a popular debate on Net Neutrality.
After two sessions of intense debate, attendees headed over to the school’s cafeteria to enjoy a delicious pizza lunch and catch up with one another. They also had the opportunity to design and/or take a photo featuring a female empowerment sign in honor of the Women’s March. The posters were then entered in a contest for the best design and message.
The third block featured a wide range of international conflicts, including a historical debate on World War II and the invasion of Normandy, a taboo debate on America leaving the United Nations due to the latter displaying an anti-American sentiment, and a resolution on the justification of Trump ruling Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The energy in both the speakers and the audience remained strong from start to finish.
AmeriCon had its closing session in the cafeteria, where Best Speaker awards were presented to the winners of each debate. The two recipients of the best female empowerment poster were also recognized. Afterwards, the conference was called to a close, though many students stayed behind to converse and take photos with one another. Midwest JSA’s chapter conferences have started strong this year, and will continue this trend for the next chapter conference on February 3rd at Lake Forest High School, as well as the upcoming Winter Congress from February 16-18th.