Katelin Zhou, Mayor
Katelin is a Junior at Westlake High School. She has been involved with JSA since her freshman year, and is ecstatic to be serving this year as the Channel Islands Region Mayor. She is currently beginning her second term as the Chapter President of Westlake High School, which she revived just last year. Additionally, she has previously served on state cabinet as a Deputy Director of Debate, allowing her to further her involvement with JSA, and helping her to uncover her immense passion and love for this organization. She has since found her home-away-from-home within the Junior State and is beyond excited to improve it in whatever way possible next year. Outside of JSA, Katelin is involved with Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Junior Blind of America, and water polo. Her favorite TV shows are Friends and Parks and Recreation, and she is an avid lover of dogs and pet chickens. Katelin is looking forward to a wonderful year with the Channel Islands Region, and cannot wait to meet all of you!
Elizabeth Benke, Vice Mayor
Elizabeth Benke is a rising senior at Rio Mesa High School. She was first introduced to Junior State of America as a junior when she became Chapter President in hopes of reviving Rio Mesa’s chapter. After attending Fall Leadership conference, she became infatuated with the ability of her peers to confidently vocalize their views on American politics and the platform of open minded individuals that JSA created. Since then, Elizabeth has attended multiple overnight conferences and One Day events and the Rio Mesa Chapter continues to thrive. She is incredibly honored to serve as the Channel Islands Region Vice Mayor this year. Outside of JSA, Elizabeth is involved in her school’s Mock Trial team, Model United Nations club, and coaches at her former gymnasium. In her free time, she enjoys learning new languages (Arabic being her current obsession), watching TedTalks, and earnestly reading Tarot Cards.
Tiffany Garcia, Events Coordinator
Tiffany Garcia is a junior at San Marcos High School. After attending only a few chapter meetings, she easily found her passion in JSA and the platform it provides for student leadership and discussion. As CIR Event Coordinator, Tiffany is dedicated to creating a lasting impression on students at regional events through effective planning strategies and a strong determination for creating an open environment for student involvement. Outside of JSA, Tiffany runs competitively, interns for local political campaigns, and is also the president for local nonprofit Santa Barbara Speaks. She is incredibly excited to be serving the members of JSA as part of the CIR cabinet and is looking forward to an amazing year.
Logan Prince, Director of Debate
Logan Prince is a sophomore at Oak Park High School. He started a JSA Chapter during his freshmen year of high school because of his interest in politics and leadership. Because of JSA, he has acquired a multitude of skills that he regards impactful to his everyday life, such as the ability to think critically and developing his public speaking skills.
Logan’s chapter focused specifically on local matters facing their community; deciding to address the District of Choice (DOC) issue that threated 1,700 students in the Oak Park Unified School District alone. To confront the subject, Logan and his chapter assisted with promotion of a petition and received recognition from Oak Park’s Superintendent for their efforts in helping to save the DOC program. During the year they also held various in class discussions and debates.
Outside of JSA, Logan participates in club and school volleyball teams, Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum Debate, his school’s student government, Boy’s Team Charity and is an Advanced Peer Counselor. In addition, he is creating an organization that provides underserved teens with debate programs, which are critical for understanding real-world issues and being able to appropriately defend your opinions.
Michelle Kidess, Director of Media and Publicity
Michelle Kidess is a senior at Santa Susana High School. After attending the UCLA Burd. Institute on Media and Politics in the Summer of 2016, she was inspired by the newly elected Cabinet members to start a JSA chapter of her own. In the fall of 2016, Michelle founded a chapter of her own, and she wouldn’t have done so without the help of the Expansion department. Michelle started a JSA chapter without knowing what it fully even was,but now credits her love of engaging in politics and to JSA.
Michelle worked to her very best while to handling a full schedule of AP courses and keeping her chapter afloat. She is proud of the progress she has made by almost more than 10 members and filling up classroom at meetings where hot debate topics were heavily advertised about. She learned not only how to manage her time better but how to market a club to gain new members by making eloquent presentations, creative posters and advertising her club on social media platforms.
Since starting her chapter, Michelle has created a bigger love for world politics and hopes one day to work as a Secretary of State. JSA has pushed Michelle to reach for greater opportunities like interning for U.S. Congressman Steve Knight and California State Assemblyman Dante Acosta this past summer.
Outside of JSA, Michelle is the Senior Class President of her school. Being a role model to her peers is something she prides herself upon. Michelle additionally loves playing tennis in her free time as she has won USTA Sectionals in her county for three years running.
Michelle graciously attended the UCLA Burd Institute on Media and Politics this Summer, this has pushed her even more to campaign for the rights of others around the globe and in her hometown of Simi Valley.
Hayley Kang, Director of Fundraising
Hayley Kang is a sophomore at Westlake High School. She first joined the club because her friend wanted to go but didn’t have anyone to go with. At first she regretted her decision in following her friend to the club because she was a little bit intimidated by some of of the members who were very vocal about their beliefs,
However, with time, she now loves JSA because it brought 57 different people with different personalities together. Before JSA, she was not a vocal person regarding her opinions and beliefs but through this organization , she was able to express who she is inside and also learn and grow from everyone else’s beliefs. This is her first year being part of the SoCal JSA Cabinet but she is looking forward to finding creative ways to increase CIR region’s funds.