Zachary Hagen-Smith, Mayor
Zachary Hagen-Smith first encountered JSA at John Burroughs High School’s freshman orientation, after being roped in by some very cool sophomores. He quickly came to cherish the spirit of debating, the discourse of ideas, and the friends he made in the club. JSA and Zach were meant for each other: within a year he was secretary of his chapter and the Angeles Region Event Coordinator. Now he is Mayor.
Zach likes to keep up with politics. He has interned with a local political party and a local politician, and encourages others to engage politically as well. At his high school he is also involved in Habitat for Humanity, theatre (he once played Mrs. Bumbrake in his school’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher), and far too many APs. In his free time he enjoys reading, watching movies, and quality television (e.g. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Veep etc.). He also appreciates organization, cheese, and listing things in groups of threes.
Ismael Diara, Vice Mayor
Ismael Diara is a senior at Cerritos high school and joined JSA after being introduced to the organization by a close friend. This is going to be his third year in JSA After becoming enthralled with JSA and the political platform that it provided for students he decided to become more involved. Although this is the first time he is on cabinet he is extremely excited to give back to the organization. He’s enjoyed attending every conference has attend and looks forward to the new experiences that will come from this position. Outside of JSA Ismael can be found playing baseball for his high school team and the french national. He also is featured on The Audio List every wednesday on K-Beach radio.
Grace Chung, Events Coordinator
Grace Chung is a senior at Faith Baptist High School. She has been a part of JSA since her freshmen year, when a senior convinced her to join. She was quickly drawn into the atmosphere, people, and debates. JSA provided a place for intellectual political discussions and activism, something that she loved to be involved in.
Since joining, Grace has been captivated by this club, and eagerly awaits the conventions and one-days. She has served as vice president and chapter president of the Faith Baptist chapter, as well as served in the convention department as support staff which fuels her desire to introduce this club to more students.
Outside of JSA, Grace likes to play the guitar, to do calligraphy, and to tutor younger students. Additionally, she enjoys cheesy jokes and puns because laughter is the best medicine.
Jacob Simon, Events Coordinator
Jacob Simon is a senior at Milken Community High School. He joined JSA during his sophomore year when he was introduced to it by his friends, and was instantly hooked by how JSA fostered a strong community centered around activism, leadership, and politics. Always having a keen interest in debate and thought-provoking conversation, Jacob found a home at JSA.
Jacob has attended 4 overnight conventions as well as a one-day event and is now serving as the Events Coordinator for the Angeles Region. Outside of JSA, Jacob participates in his school’s speech and debate program, is on the school’s tennis team, and works on completing a full-length film script he created during a screenwriting course.
Audrey Ancheta, Director of Communications
Audrey Ancheta is a sophomore at Whitney High School. After attending Spring State towards the end of her freshman year, she grew to love everything that JSA had to offer; from the unique debate structure to the supportive, lively atmosphere and the amazing people. This newfound passion for JSA motivated her to become more involved in not only her chapter’s cabinet, but state cabinet as well.
This year, she looks forward to serving her first year on cabinet as one of the Directors of Communications and is excited for the great things yet to be accomplished. More importantly, she looks forward to seeing new faces at regional events because she firmly believes anyone interested in an event in the slightest should have the opportunity to go.
Aside from JSA, Audrey is a part of several other clubs and organizations, such as Future Business Leaders of America and Model United Nations, and is even a member of the cross country team. In her free time; she enjoys writing, experiencing other cultures, and listening to music.
Rebecca Hochman-Fisher, Director of Communications
Rebecca Hochman-Fisher is 16-year-old junior at Palisades Charter High School. Not one to shy away from voicing her opinion, the freedom to truly express herself during a debate was what drew her into JSA. After attending her first SoCal Winter Congress, she knew she wanted to take on a more active role in the JSA Community.
More than just a debating society, JSA is a community full of vibrant and interesting people from all different walks of life. The ability to meet as many of those members as possible is what initially piqued her interest in becoming Communications Director. She looks forward to engaging with as many chapters as possible, and is very thankful for this opportunity.
Outside of JSA, Rebecca can be found reading novels written before she was born, attempting to act, trying her hand at coding, or browsing the Instagram explore page.
Charlie Dodge, Director of Media and Publicity
Charlie Dodge is a senior at Temple City High School. She began participating in JSA as an eighth grader, and has been president of her high school chapter since the end of her freshman year. She loves engaging in political discourse with her peers, and JSA provides her with the perfect platform for that.
Since freshman year, Charlie has attended 5 overnight elections, and most recently participated in the Stanford JSA Summer School, where she broadened her political communication skills. She is looking forward to her first year serving on JSA Cabinet.
In addition to JSA, Charlie runs her school newspaper, the Rampage, and writes opinion pieces for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. She is an aspiring journalist and hopes to have her political cartoons published in the New Yorker one day.