JSA speaks up

Sarah Menendez

Members of Junior States of America club voiced their opinion at the Fall State convention, in Los Angeles, on November 14th and 15th.  Students in attendance made marks and proved their skills as they took home honorable awards for their debating abilities. Fall State was one of the many conventions that JSA participates in, which is allows members to debate a number of issues on a larger level. JSA members were given the chance to debate topics ranging from Civil Unions to giving felons the right to vote.

This Fall State was a sign of evolution for this chapter due to the increase in activity. Downey showed their linguistic talent as even first time members spoke.

“We interacted a lot this year,” said junior Brandon Pineda “For example, Joanne Kang was a main speaker in three debates, our President spoke in two debates, Andrea Lomeli spoke in one debate, and many of us also did subsequent speeches.”

Pineda adds that although it was his first convention and he was nervous during his speech, Fall State has given him more confidence and inspired him to speak at future conventions.

Although this is a small chapter in Southern California, JSA members are starting to make a difference and gain attention at large conventions.

“Our Regional Governor Matt Saunders complimented us by saying that Downey High School is in fact being noticed,” said Chapter President Christopher Espinosa, “Before, we were just in the background, but our chapter is now making a landmark; we are setting a premise for the future growth of our section.”

President Espinosa added that he is beyond proud to know that Downey chapter members were participating out of their own will and had the urge to speak their point of view.

Members proved that they could handle the pressure of a large-scale debate by giving 5 main speeches over the weekend. Not only did speakers show that they could handle the heat, but they also proved that they are “Master Debaters” by winning two honorable prizes. Senior, Chapter Secretary Joanne Kang won Best Speaker for her speech on Civil Union, and first time attendee Brandon Pineda won Best Speaker for his subsequent speech on the banning of hunting. These Best Speaker gavels were welcomed with pride by the chapter president and all members in attendance.

Fall State showed that JSA has not only given the students a chance to voice their opinion and make a difference but it has also given members a chance to grow as people. Commissioner of Fundraising, Rudy Mendoza, who has attended four major conventions reflected on what he gained from what he gained over the years in JSA.

“Overall, I have learned that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I learned that I should respect their opinion even if it is not my own,” said Mendoza.

By the end of this convention, JSA members proved that they are not only Junior Statesmen of America, but also the future leaders of America.