This article was submitted by Litsa Kapsalis.
The Junior State of America (JSA) is arguably one of the most incredible student-run organizations in the country. Founded in 1934, JSA has helped countless students improve their public speaking skills, develop leadership qualities, and become involved in activism initiatives. The organization turns many high school students into confident, civically engaged citizens. JSAers express their views on immigration and debate animal testing in the medical industry. They raise money for charities and write letters to lonely veterans. They participate in entertaining arguments such as “It Is Better to be Loud than Logical” and “ The Earth is Flat”. From the national Council of Governors that oversee each of the ten JSA regions, to the dynamic state cabinets, to school chapters that are sprouting or booming, JSA is directed by high school students who are elected by their peers and power the organization. The self-motivation demonstrated by JSAers is second to none among high school organizations. Students in our region lead their peers to Madison, WI, Washington, D.C, and Schaumburg, IL for unforgettable overnight conventions that the elected students on Midwest Cabinet organize and run themselves.
I am one of two LFHS students who are on Midwest Cabinet. I am a Debate Agent and senior Emmet Brady is the Director of Chapter Internal Affairs. You can read more about the Midwest Cabinet here. JSA has a strong presence in Lake Forest High School. Our Debate Team participates in JSA events in addition to monthly Congressional Debate Tournaments. Furthermore, each year our school hosts a JSA Chapter Conference where students from across the Midwest come for a day of debate, activism, and fellowship. On December 2nd and 3rd, a delegation of thirteen LHFS students attended Fall State, an overnight convention where we debated in the actual congressional chambers of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building. As Chapter President, I am incredibly proud of our Chapter; we advanced our political awareness, made timeless memories, and brought home five (!) awards in the form of gavels. As The Forest Scout previously reported, one of our members, Tommy Henry, had a streak of fame that would embarrass Columbus.
While we make the most of all opportunities JSA has to offer, not all chapters in the Midwest are as fortunate as we are. Overnight conventions can be a financial burden, so many students are simply not able to attend these inspiring experiences. However, Midwest JSA is determined to break down economic barriers that not only put brilliant and talented high school students at a disadvantage, but ultimately keep them away from the political sphere. This Thursday, December 14th, the LFHS JSA Chapter is hosting a fundraiser at the Chipotle at 945 Rockland Road in Lake Bluff to benefit the Midwest Scholarship Fund that gives financial aid to individuals who need it. Whether or not you are involved in JSA, we encourage you to stop by between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm, grab a bite to eat, and mention the Junior State of America. For more information on JSA, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr. Wanninger at email@example.com. I hope you will join us!