By: Bailey Ilomin
Does the “Star Wars” series have a better storyline than the “Harry Potter” series? Do poor whites not have white privilege? Should the KKK be classified as a terrorist group? Topics such as these and many more were debated at NorCal JSA Spring State a couple of weeks ago. JSA, otherwise known as Junior Statesman of America, is a political and debate club. High school students ranging from all ages and all parts of Northern California come to conventions such as Spring State to debate current issues and topics, whether they be social or political.
Three times out of the year, JSA chapters are welcomed to debate and speak at the conventions, once during fall, winter, and lastly spring. Schools from Redding and all the way to San Luis Obispo come out to debate with their peers. Benicia High’s JSA President Nick Cillo talked about JSA saying, “I think NorCal JSA is full of schools that are passionate about politics. It’s a group of bright individuals who have the opportunity to be the future leaders of the country.”
Activities other than debating were offered, such as the political fair, a meet and greet with candidates, and many nighttime activities such as dancing and karaoke. The first night had a neon themed dance, and the second night had a red white and blue theme. The karaoke gave attendees the opportunity to sing songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Just the Way You Are” and even the National Anthem. Group activities such as these gave students the opportunity to interact with one another and meet new people while having a good time.
Due to the fact that it was the last convention for many of the appointed and elected officials, there were many students campaigning to take office for the fall. From Governor to cabinet members, there were many positions available and candidates looking to run. Each chapter was given their own vote as a school, making it a fair race for each and every candidate.
Students were given the opportunity to debate and write speeches whether it be their first or last debate. From inspiring to memorizing speeches, every voice was heard. Though the convention may have been the last for many, JSA is always looking for new and upcoming members. If interested, Benicia’s chapter will be at the 2016-2017 school year club fair, or even feel free to reach out to a club official.