JSA debates in Washington, D.C.


Jamie Orseck ’19

The group of students in the club visited the National Mall during some time off from learning about the federal government as it applies to JSA.

The Junior Statesmen of America club (JSA) at Staples traveled to the Winter Congress Convention in Washington, DC on Feb. 7 for the weekend.

JSA is a group of high school students who engage in debates at conventions around the country. When not at debates, the group practices after school and engages in civic debates against each other. There are different chapters of the club around the country that come together at a time throughout the year. During their visit to DC, the group attended a tour of the Capitol Building, explored the National Mall and had the chance to meet with politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and John Lewis.

Jamie Orseck ’19, Empire Constitution Region Director of Publicity and Staples Chapter Internal Affairs Agent for Interchapter Relations, is a three year member of the group. She recalled the events of this past weekend and discussed her participation. “We spent [Saturday and Sunday] debating bills that had been submitted by JSA students as a form of ‘Mock Congress’,” Orseck said. “We passed bills in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in order to become laws.”

The group of students were given time to explore the city, interact with various political figures and learn more about the affairs within the federal government, including the act of passing a law.

Michael Blankfein ’20, convention delegate and copy editor for the Northeast State magazine, The Patriot, explains how the group was able to propose legislation, attend activism speeches and view monuments and museums around the city.

Blankfein has been able to use JSA as an outlet for his passion for politics. “I joined [JSA] because I really like civics and politics,” he said. “Plus, I was interested by the promise of missing school for going on overnight trips to places such as DC.”

As JSA returned home, they switched their focus to what is to come in their future. “Next for JSA, we have our Spring State convention towards the end of April,” Orseck said. “But we will most likely have several one-day conventions beforehand, including the ECR Spring One-Day, which will most likely be in NYC.”

Many members of the group look forward to the conventions and debates that take place throughout the year, which served as a motivation for them to join JSA in the first place.

“I had heard about the different trips and experiences that JSA provides before high school,” Sophie McCabe ’19 said, “and knew that I wanted to be a member of this group for a while.”