Youth activists convene at Junior State of America conference

Crystal Baik

Several students from the Junior State of America (JSA) club attended the Fall State Convention at the Hyatt Regency Orange County from Nov. 23 to 24. Attendees took part in fairs, panels and debates that focused on various political issues and activism initiatives.

JSA conference includes many activities to increase political knowledge

Discussion topics included Medicare, policies regarding eligible undocumented immigrants and British Parliament’s plans to finalize Brexit.

“There was lots of back-and-forth between debaters, and I learned a lot more about the candidates,” attendee Will Farhat ’21. “Overall, it was a great time, serious and fun at the same time.”

Student attendee wins award

Muthee Githara ’20 won the Best Speaker award in debate, and JSA president Abraham Gallardo ’20 spoke to fellow students about prison populations receiving minimum wage. The school’s JSA also received a certificate for its achievements relating to civic engagement in Southern California.

“I have been attending conventions since sophomore year and have loved it since then,” Gallardo said. “I felt extremely proud because I have put a lot of time, love and effort in this club, and I love seeing it flourish.”

Convention holds a panel for students 

In addition to student-led debates, the convention held a panel featuring professional women in media and a political fair where interest groups such as the Libertarian Party convened.

“Seeing such passionate people [as guest speakers] is always inspiring, and the only-women panel seemed like a statement,” JSA member Kayla Choi ’22 said. “This is my second year at JSA, and I’ve grown from last year. [Before], I would listen and stay silent even when I had something to say. Now, I have more organized notes in case I want to be more engaged.”