Taking on the big leagues


Giving a Vice Mayoral candidacy speech is club president Alejandro Lomeli, 12, at the JSA Spring State convention on Apr. 13. “I am thankful for all the support I received from our chapter during this election,” Lomeli said.

Gustavo Ramirez, Opinions Editor

Heading off to the LAX Hilton on April 13, was Downey High’s JSA chapter attended Spring State, a formal debate convention, to win awards and show off their skills. In total, thirty people attended from DHS, including JSA Adviser Mr. Armendariz, President Alejandro Lomeli, and member Caleb Mukathe. The convention lasted three days and two nights, with eight debate blocks in total.

The event was on Friday the 13, but superstition would not deter the group from going. The eight blocks consisted of an assortment of activities, such as debating, attending a thought talk, playing political Pictionary, and things of that manner.  At the end of Friday and Saturday, a dance was held so that attendees could enjoy themselves and each other.

“The dance is the best aspect of JSA,” junior Nelly Pineda said. “The other things are fun too, but I think that the dance really makes everything better.”

However, Spring State is not just a dance; it is also a serious chance for people to critically and analytically compete against each other in a friendly and sophisticated manner. Debates varied in severity and candor, with some being not as serious (such as the benefits of 3D movies) and others more legitimate (such as whether or not the federal reserve should be abolished).

“Sometimes people made really good points, and other times people made really bad points,” Senior Sophia Loumiotis said. “The best thing about this, though, is that you can improve yourself within an environment that provides positive feedback and will aid you. It makes you become a better speaker, and although it can be kind of imposing, speaking behooves you. It gives you confidence.”

And that is what counts the most, and what brings students to conventions. Yet, that is not the only attractive thing about Spring State. The high paced and intensely nerve-wrecking elections are also a highlight. At the spring convention, elections are held to determine the board and cabinet for next year. Shockingly, Alejandro Lomeli ran for Angeles Region (AR) Vice-Mayor and won.

“I didn’t know I was going to win,” Lomeli said. “I feel great about winning, and I think this just serves to prove that our chapter is capable of doing great things.”

There are various positions within the echelons of JSA, and the position of AR Vice-Mayor is one of the higher regional positions. Regional board consists of two senators, Vice-Mayor, and Mayor; the state board—which is composed of all the regions within SoCal—consists of the Speaker of the Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor. Downey, of course, has a strong position in the ranking of the region.

In all, the club will continue to thrive on. Next year, the club is able to run for Chapter of the Year, and they state that it will be their focus to win that award.