“The Junior Statesmen mission is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society.”
The local Sonoran Desert Chapter Conference of the Arizona Junior State of America (JSAZ) was held today at the Joel D. Valdez Main library downtown from 10:15 to 4:30 p.m. The event was mostly organized by 14 year old Conference Director Caleb Rhodes (home schooled). Welcome remarks were made by their elected JSAZ Governor Theo Jones (also home schooled) and their Program Director Karen Prosser.
Local political candidates for the November 2010 election who were invited to speak today were Ruth McClung (R), CD 7 U.S. House candidate; Rodney Glassman (D), U.S. Senate candidate; 3 candidates from LD 27 House of Representatives – Sally Ann Gonzales (D), Robert Compton (R) and Kent Solberg (G); LD 29 House candidate Pat Kilburn (R); and David Nolan (L), U.S. Senate candidate & founder of the Libertarian Party.
So a cross- section of candidates from four different parties were represented today to indicate to these high schoolers the range of political party viewpoints in Tucson. The Constitution Party, Tucson Tea Party, ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), and both Jan Brewer for Governor and Terry Goddard for Governor campaigns were also included in the lunchtime Political Fair.
Their afternoon Thought Talks were entitled” Should the U.S. Implement a National I.D. Card? (moderated by Theo Jones), followed by “Laissez-Faire or Socialism, what is the role of government in the economy?” (moderated by Ashlen Smith)
In the student-run Junior State, and at The Junior Statesmen Summer Schools and summer Symposia, participants learn statesmanship as they engage in political discourse. They cultivate democratic leadership skills, challenge one another to think critically, advocate their own opinions, develop respect for opposing views, and learn to rise above self-interest to promote the public good.” (all quoted statements from their website, www.jsa.org)
Local chapters of Junior State of America exist at 3 private high schools in Tucson: Salpointe Catholic High School, St. Gregory’s College Prep School, and River of Life Christian School, plus for those home schooled.
They are planning a JSAZ Fall State Convention for 2 days (October 30-31) at the Phoenix Hilton Suites Hotel (10 East Thomas Road) for interested high school students & teachers. Cost is $60 per person which includes one night at the hotel, guest speakers, debates, “provocative thought talks”, Halloween Dance & prizes for best costume. Register online at www.jsa.org. For more info call Karen Prosser at 1-800-334-5353 (Junior State West Headquarters in San Mateo, CA).
“Since 1934, the nonprofit Junior Statesmen Foundation (JSF) and the Junior State of America (JSA) have helped over 500,000 student leaders acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be active, informed and responsible citizens, voters and statesmen. (They) are committed to developing a diverse cross section of young leaders throughout the entire country.”
This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for high schoolers to become active leaders in politics, civics, learn about how government works at all levels, meet actual candidates & politicians, debate current issues, etc. Reminds me of the “debate clubs” we used to have back in high school.
JSA is non-profit and non-partisan, so tell your high schoolers about it today, or their American Government teachers to start up a chapter, if your high school doesn’t have one. And attend that Fall State Convention in Phoenix.