Fall State Recap

The Northeast State’s Fall State 2017 began on Saturday, December 9th in Boston. The event was hosted at the city’s historic Park Plaza hotel. Over 700 students from across the state attended. NES governor Derek Lo lead opening session. Lieutenant governor Sarah Hoffman, Gubernatorial Chief of Staff Elijah Pomerantz, Convention Coordinators Emily Shen and Jenny Wang, Director of Logistics Ankit Sahasrabudhe, Director of Activism Ivan Daquial, and Director of Publicity Ella Lederer all addressed the full convention. Lederer introduced the keynote speakers, Antonia Okafor and Khushbu Webber. Okafor is an advocate for concealed carry on college campuses and discussed why she believes that students should be allowed to exercise their second amendment rights at their universities. She focused on how women should be allowed to possess a firearm or similar defensive tools such as pepper spray and tasers to protect themselves from sexual assault. Webber is a Director of Policy at the nonprofit organization The United Way. She discussed her work on advocating for and improving the greater Boston community.

After opening session, there were a series of workshops that allowed attendees to practice certain debate skills. Examples include a moderator workshop and novice debate workshop. These workshops concluded around midday and students headed off to grab a bite to eat for lunch. Popular spots include Au Bon Pain and Chipotle. At the latter, the line stretched out the door despite the heavy snowfall.

Following lunch, students had the option to attend a wide range of debates from Resolved, that freedom of expression is often of greater value than political correctness to Resolved, that a second Cold war with China is on the horizon.

In the later afternoon, there was a wide range of panels to attend. These panels consisted of a wide range of experts in a variety of fields with a diverse range of experiences and opinions. At the Women’s Rights Panel, there was not an empty seat in the room.

JCOCP convened for their first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year. JCOCP is the legislative body of JSA and consists of all the chapter presidents from across the Northeast state. The group voted to allow the creation of three new departments: Publicity, Debate, and Chapter Internal Affairs, as well as the position of permanent logistics agent. The group also rejected an amendment to Article VI, Section 1, Subsection E stating that: “Any NES member may attend a meeting of the Joint Council of Chapter Presidents and propose an amendment, resolution, or legislation, granted that set amendment, resolution or legislation have a co-sponsor who is a Chapter President.”

There was a final debate block and then chapter caucus. Then, students went to dinner with their chapters. Following dinner, students attended a wide range of nighttime activities from the dance to political speed dating.

The next day began early in the morning with a debate block. This block was then followed by a Mock Police Board and a Mock Supreme Court. Three more debate blocks followed before closing session. At the closing session, best speaker gavels were handed out for each debate over the weekend and Governor Derek Lo officially closed Fall State 2017.

Kate Dario, Editor-in-Chief

JSA Summer School at Princeton

Over the summer, I lived in a dorm with three other students, had late night study sessions with my friends, went through highlighter after highlighter hoping to memorize all the vocabulary words for my next test, and frequented the library, looking up information to craft my term paper, all at Princeton University. But I’m not a student at Princeton, I simply attended JSA’s summer school there, which turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life.

 

Every year, the Junior State of America holds three summer schools in the United States, and one in Beijing, China. Domestically, the summer schools are held at three universities: Stanford, Georgetown, and Princeton, where I went. While studying at these prestigious institutions, learning from actual college professors, you are fully immersed in the college experience, attending classes for up to seven hours a day, eating at the campus dining hall, and living in a dorm. The classes, as well, are also structured like a college: spending up to five hours a day listening to lectures, doing collaborative lectures, and independent work, with class options including AP Macroeconomics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, International Relations, and Political Speech and Communication. Additionally, unique to Princeton is the Freshman Scholars program, where rising freshmen take a modified version of AP U.S. Government and Politics. Each class has a midterm, a final, and a term paper, also in the vein of college classes.

 

I challenged myself and a chose a topic I knew next to something about: AP Macroeconomics, and it was certainly challenging, just as all the other classes are, but it was ultimately rewarding. As an aspiring politician, the experience I gained as a result of studying economics was important, as it gave me a glimpse into what concept I would be building on as I continued my education, and as I entered public service. For political enthusiasts and prospective public servants, JSA gives a great foundation on political topics in an environment to ask questions, and explore interesting topics in depth.

 

However, the aspect I most enjoyed were the debates every night. Following several two hour classes on proper debate etiquette from one of the two political speech and communications professors, all JSA students are reshuffled and divided into four houses for debate. Each night, there are two debates on two different topics, all relating to current events. Each debate is between two main speakers, who make opening statements, and then the moderator opens the floor to questions for the speakers, and then subsequent arguments, where those who hadn’t debated get to make their own arguments for either side. However, in true JSA tradition, the moderator is also a student, and is selected by the students via a vote.

 

One of the best moments of JSA was when I was voted to be moderator, assuming the responsibility of keeping every debate cordial and respectful. While this seems like a chore, it was actually a privilege, as I was happy to maintain an environment of peaceful political discussion, particularly in a country where such a concept seems to be fleeting.

 

After completing class and debates, I had also had the privilege to be voted to participate in the “Powerhouse Debate”, where two speakers from each house, believed to be the best debaters in that house, were voted to debate President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. This debate, unlike the previous debates, was performed in front of every student at JSA. This debate, as well as all previous ones, served to help everybody expand their understanding of the issues we are faced with right now, and began a productive dialogue on the Princeton campus between students.

 

The speakers program also integrated speeches by academic scholars, judges, NGO founders and CEOs, and United Nations officials, discussing First Amendment rights at the Constitutional center, benefits for 9/11 responders, and climate change at the United Nations.

 

Ultimately, the best part of JSA at Princeton was all the friends that I met. While you may think that spending three weeks on a college campus won’t create lasting friendships, you’d be surprised. I made friends with people as far as China, and as close as New Jersey, many of whom I still talk to today.

 

If you are up for the academic challenge, I urge all those interested in politics to look into JSA summer school, for the educational opportunity, the intellectual experience, and all the friends that you will meet along the way.

 

by Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

2017-2018 Cabinet Retreat Recap

 

Elected Officials of the JSA Northeast State

It was a busy weekend in Stamford, Connecticut, where the cabinet members of the Northeast State and the Mid-Atlantic States convened to kick off the 2017-2018 JSA year. Beginning with a joint-session with both cabinets, NES Governor Derek Lo, along with MAS Governor Ariel Rakovitsky led the session, with Governor Rakovitsky including an unintentionally funny opening remark comparing the JSA community to a brick wall: the foundation of the wall being all our passion for political, civic engagement, and bettering our communities, and the wall being built up with each brick, with the wall being the organization, and the brick being all of us, slowly building up the wall with each of our diverse skill sets and talents.

 

The Governor’s Cabinet

And, if I may continue the metaphor, the best days of this brick wall are ahead of it – withsome of it even possibly lying in the coming year. The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast State cabinets have dedicated themselves to expanding JSA and betting all aspects of the organization. Over the next year, the Northeast State cabinet will work diligently to do its part in expanding the number of JSA chapters nationwide to 450 and increase the number of JSA Scholars nationwide to JSA summer school by thirty.

 

Additionally, Governor Lo and Lieutenant Governor Sarah Hoffman led a state cabinet discussion on what we could look to improving in this coming year. Faced with sobering statistics on conference attendance from the following two years, the NES cabinet was tasked with remedying this problem through the expansion of the JSA organization, the bettering of communication between the cabinet and chapter presidents, and fundraising. The communications department will work on engaging with chapter presidents all across the state, the publicity department will work on creating a more engaging platform for The Patriot in order to establish a line of broad communication with existing JSA members, as well as create state conferences appealing to JSA members, the expansion department will work to increase membership, and the fundraising department will look to expand scholarships to tackle the costs.

 

The ECR Mayoral Cabinet

Additionally, the cabinet agreed upon new rules set for moderators, who will now be expected to attend workshops every conference to train them to better equip them to facilitate engaging debates. These debates, as well, will be revamped, as the Debate Department completed a list of hundreds of new debate topics relevant to the current and upcoming year, dealing with American values and social issues, such as racism, sexism, and discrimination.

 

The NER Cabinet

When asked about her experience, Jillian McGuckin, Director of Debate for the Northeast State, said, “Cab retreat was extremely exciting this year, with many new faces becoming part of cabinet, bringing exciting new ideas that will help the Northeast State prosper. I am very excited, as a Director of Debate, for the upcoming year. We worked very hard to create new debate topics, and we can’t wait to see them in action at Fall State.”

 

Jenny Wang, Convention Coordinator for the Northeast State, echoed Jillian’s statements, expressing her excitement, telling The Patriot, “This year’s cabinet retreat gave all of us a great opportunity to interact with the rest of the cabinet, and I am very excited for the upcoming year.”

The entire Northeast State Cabinet

Following a series of cabinet and department meetings, and several pizzas later, operations were set for this upcoming year, and the brick wall has never looked better.

by Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

Meet the New Elected Officials: ECR Mayor Corey Scheinfeld

  1. Why did you decide to run for your position?

Throughout my high school career, I have been fascinated to be a part of the largest student-run organization in the country. And as I became more and more involved with JSA, I aspired to become a part of that wonderful fact. JSA has given me a passion that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, so I ran to pass that down to others in the best way possible, while at the same time furthering my own experiences.

  1. Who were some of your JSA mentors who helped you become who you are today?

I would say I have been most inspired by three people. The current mayor, Armana Islam, the current governor, Kamren Parsa, and my close friend, Elijah Pomerantz, the current director of logistics. Each of these people has inspired me to join the ranks of those involved in our government and shown me the true meaning behind being a part of JSA. Besides this, they have all given me great values, ranging from hard work and persistence to love, kindness, and friendship.

  1. What was your reaction when you learned you won?

I was absolutely thrilled when I learned of my victory. Being mayor was not something I even dreamed about Freshman year, but there I was. It truly was an astonishing moment that I will remember forever.

  1. What will your main focus be for next year?

Well, there are a lot of things I want to improve in our region. I could talk on for hours, but I’ll boil it down to this: more participation during events besides overnight conventions. One-days, chapter-cons, and the up and coming debate nights are fantastic ways to keep the JSA experience constant throughout the year, and more participation will only increase the value of these experiences.

  1. Political Icon?

My political icon is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His leadership during such a tough time in American history is truly a great feat, and he is a model for all of our future leaders. His calm, knowledgeable tactics in dealing with hardship saved our nation, and for that, he deserves to be remembered throughout all of history.

  1. Favorite JSA memory?

Well, it’s sort of a continuous thing. At every single overnight convention since Fall State 2015 year, two of my friends and I would dance to Shake it Off at the party. It seems small, but just dancing and shouting the lyrics at the top of your lungs without a care in the world is something that has stuck with me all these years.

  1. Favorite movie or tv show?

The Office by far. One of my favorite ways to procrastinate and a hilarious show- it never fails to keep me laughing!

  1. Favorite musical artist

I wouldn’t say I have a favorite musical artist, I happen to be more of a fan of Broadway. Some of my favorite plays include Hamilton, Waitress, and Something Rotten.

  1. Favorite food?

Salad, because salad can be a combination of anything. Regular salad? Chocolate Salad? Pizza Salad? Who knows! The possibilities are endless.

  1. Favorite hobby outside of JSA?

Outside of JSA, I am very active in another club at my school, Hope from the Heart. In this club, we do different fundraisers to raise money for children with cancer and certain cancer organizations. It’s a great cause that is not only very close to my heart but important to me as well.

  1. Favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject in school is most likely US history. I love learning about the past and how our country has persevered through many obstacles to be the shining light of democracy it is today.

Meet New Elected Officials: NES Governor Derek Lo

dereklo

  1. Why did you decide to run for your position?

I decided to run for governor after hearing from many of your ideas and concerns in the state, and I want to combine them with my vision for the NES. I felt that these ideas, along with my extensive experience on both regional and state cabinets, as well as having served as a chapter officer make me qualified and prepared for this position. I also saw that the position of governor requires a strong work ethic and dedication to the cause, and that has also propelled me into running for governor, as I saw myself as one with those necessary skills.

2. Who were some of your JSA mentors who helped you become who you are today?

One of my JSA mentors was Adam Wolpert. A member of my chapter since his sophomore year, his encouragement pushed me to get more involved in JSA and seek out every opportunity available. His advice and support helped me a more confident, dedicated individual, both in JSA and outside of it as well.

Another JSA mentor was Nate Bradley. He and I served together on regional cabinet my sophomore year and ran against each other at the end of that year. His respect and warm personality are second to none and were unwavering, despite the fact we were opponents at the time. We both knew the region would be good hands. When I decided to run for governor this past winter, he immediately jumped on my campaign, offering his constant support and advice that I value so much. I am so grateful to him for teaching me several lessons on campaigning and life in general that have helped me so much.

Another JSA mentor was Alyssa Wang. My boss sophomore year, her incredible work ethic and dedication to JSA were unparalleled. She stuck to motto #NERBestbyFar, made me realized one’s ability to do anything they wanted to do if they gave it their all.

3. What was your reaction when you learned you won?

I was kind of shocked and tried to process everything at once. I was stunned at the overwhelming margin of victory. It made me so happy that people want to see the ideas my campaign team and I came up implemented. After having lost the NER mayoral race the year before, it was a bittersweet moment for me.

4. What will your main focus be for next year?

My main focus for next year is bringing up attendance numbers and increased communication and transparency within the state

5. Political Icon?

My political icon is Leung Kwok-Hung, a Hong Kong legislator, and social activist. He has fought for democracy and freedom of speech through civil disobedience and nonviolent protesting. As a Hong Kong-American, I look up to him as one who has taken a firm stance against the pro-Beijing government and remains committed to ensuring liberties and freedoms are not taken away from the people of Hong Kong despite having been arrested many times for protesting and burning the Chinese flag, and spending time in prison.

6. Favorite JSA memory?

My first time at a JSA event, NER Spring One Day 2015,  where I debated for the first time. Then, it like clicked for me. I realized that I had finally found the organization that I could dedicate myself to and get as involved as I wanted to.

7. Favorite movie or tv show?

The West Wing and Pride and Prejudice (1995 version)

8. Favorite musical artist

George Lam and Sam Hui

9. Favorite food?

Gyros and Pho

10. Favorite hobby outside of JSA?

Reading pretty much anything or Drawing

11. Favorite subject in school?

History, Economics, and Government

Meet the New elected officials: ECR Vice Mayor Patrick Burland

  1. Why did you decide to run for your position?

I decided to run for Vice Mayor in large part to a big push from my chapter. My Chapter President, Himay Dharani, and good friend Anisha Jain encouraged me to run and were very supportive of my campaign throughout the election. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my campaign manager, Josh Crow, who helped fire me up for the campaign and really help me get my footing.

 

2. Who were some of your JSA mentors who helped you become who you are today?

Among my JSA mentors are Celina Deng, Dan Boiller, Thomas Boutros, Jess Ahern, Karl Meekin, Himay Dharani, Josh Crow, Armana Islam, Cole Bruno, Roger Chen, Arielle Soldatanko and Claire Haupt. All of these wonderful people have helped me through my ups and downs and helped shape me to become the statesman I am today. Without them, it’s unlikely that I would be this involved and as passionate as I am.

 

3. What was your reaction when you learned you won?

I was extremely surprised. At no point in the race did I know which way the election was gonna go. And before the results were announced, my fellow candidates and I, knew that whoever won, our region would be in good hands.

 

4. What will your main focus be for next year?

My main focus for this upcoming year will be on keeping our existing chapters strong and to help them expand in their communities. During the campaign, I ran on implementing a new emphasis on civics and expanding Fight Apathy to the ballot box. These programs will not only help expand JSA but foster a passion for government and politics in countless more students.

 

5. Political Icon?

John Kasich. The Ohio Governor is my favorite politician. While I initially didn’t know much about him,  the more I heard, the more I liked.  And Governor Kasich’s best attribute is his integrity which is of a magnitude I can only aspire to one day have. Having gone to two of his town hall, campaigned for him in 3 states and keeping up with him post election; I can honestly say there is no person more qualified to be our President in 2020.

 

6.Favorite JSA memory?

My favorite JSA memory by far was at Fall State 2015 when I won my first gavel. The rush of excitement and applause I got when my name was announced was so quintessentially JSA and that moment is one of the reasons why when I’m not eating or sleeping, I’m twisting people’s arms to join JSA

 

7. Favorite movie or tv show?

House of Cards. Go watch it.

 

8. Favorite food?

Favorite food is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, though anything from Chik Fil A is a close second.

 

9. Favorite hobby outside of JSA?

 

Outside of JSA, I enjoy sleeping, eating and soccer. Though even when I’m not in JSA, I am still heavily involved in politics. Whether that be in local or state elections, I’m always trying to get involved in a campaign.

 

10. Favorite subject in school?

I have never enjoyed a class to the degree that I do for AP Gov & Politics.  If your school offers it I would highly recommend taking it.

Meet the New Elected Officials: NER Mayor Jessica Coulombe

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  1. Why did you decide to run for your position?

I decided to run for mayor because I love JSA. Being on cabinet, I had seen what was working and what could be improved in the region and I begun to think of the ways I could better the NER. As the year went on, it became clear to me that I wanted this role because I desired to make a change in order to help my region reach its full potential. I didn’t want to sit by and hope it would happen so I ran for mayor!

2. Who were some of your JSA mentors who helped you become who you are today?

My biggest JSA mentor is my very close friend, Liam Dewey. I have never been to a JSA convention without him and it is hard to picture how I’m going to do it next year. Dewey has allowed me to see my potential and has lead me to become the leader I am today. He showed me that it is okay to be yourself and share any and all ideas you have. He’s urged me to venture out of my comfort zone and without him I’m not sure that I would have even applied for cabinet.

3. What was your reaction when you learned you won?

When I learned I had won mayor I was both relieved and excited. Relieved because I had been waiting for the moment so long that I never thought it was going to come but then it finally did! Excited because the energy in the room was amazing and I just knew then that the next year was going to be a huge success.

4. What will your main focus be for next year?

My main focus for next year will be strengthening interest in activism and creating a larger, more solid region.

5. Political Icon?

My political icon is a bit dated but it is Benjamin Franklin. He was very ahead of his time, he was talented in so many different areas and he was overall an admirable person based on his values and his accomplishments.

6. Favorite JSA memory?

My favorite JSA memory is definitely my first time speaking at a debate and getting a best speaker award. It really drove me to get more involved after seeing that I could succeed at debating, which I never thought was possible.

7. Favorite movie or tv show?

My favorite movie is the Harry Potter series and my favorite show is Doctor Who.

8. Favorite musical artist?

My favorite musical artist is Florida Georgia Line or Sam Hunt.

9. Favorite food?

My favorite foods are chicken pot pie and apple crisp.

10. Favorite hobby outside of JSA?

My favorite hobby outside of school would be either running cross country or singing in my acapella/jazz choir group.

11. Favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject in school is history. Any type of history; US, European, Ancient, etc.

Fall State 2016 Newsletter

Hope you are all pumped up for Fall State! Here’s your newsletter for the convention, featuring some of our writers’ opinions of the election as well as a HoNES.
 

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