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Junior State of America marches into an exciting new year


Junior State of America, better known around Staples as JSA, kicked off its year with an impressive showing at the Fall State convention on the weekend of Nov. 22 in Boston, Massachusettes.

JSA, with the Staples chapter containing around 40 students, provides members with an opportunity to experience democracy firsthand as they debate real-world issues.

“The main mission of JSA is to prepare students for life-long civic involvement,” Kayla Gitlin ’15, the Conference Coordinator for the Empire Constitution Region, said. “And for responsible leadership in a democratic society.”

School chapters affiliated with the New England region of JSA attended the conference to discuss and debate a wide variety of topics.

In total, Staples students took home 11 best-speaker awards, with Vice-President Cole Bruno ’16 and member Evan Horowitz ’15 each winning three gavels.

Also among the winners for best speaker awards from Staples were William Vester ’15, Quinn Hughes ’16 and Alex Uman ’16.

“The entire Staples chapter absolutely swept the convention,” Horowitz said. “But I think it’s imperative we recognize Andrew Dobrich ’15 and Cadence Neenan ’15 for their diligent and outstanding work in making sure the convention got off without a hitch.”

This convention was the first of the year for JSA, with the next large conference being Winter Congress.  This will be held in Washington D.C. from Feb. 6-8 of 2015.

Winter Congress mimics the legislative system of the United States, with students creating several pieces of legislations and debating over their value.

In addition to this, the Staples chapter of JSA will be hosting and participating in a series of mini-conferences.  These single-day conventions will take place at various schools around the New England region.

“My expectations are high for the rest of the year,” Staples chapter President Andrew Dobrich ’15 said. “I expect a lot more best-speaker awards in addition to a fantastic chapter conference.”

Many students who participate in JSA also find it to be a fun due to what and how topics are discussed.  JSA is a club where students who are interested in both politics and debating can mix these interests together.

“I love JSA because it provides an opportunity for high school students to get more involved in politics and debating,” Bruno said.

Although JSA had only one conference this year, members are confident that another positive year lays ahead for the chapter.

The Staples chapter of JSA won the Chapter-of-the-Year award last year.  This is a national award, with chapters from all parts of the nation competing.

“We won the Chapter-of-the-Year award last year,” Dobrich said.  “And although a lot of members graduated, I don’t see a reason why we can’t win it again this year..”

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About the Contributor
Andrew Vester, Staff Writer
It’s a scorching afternoon in mid-July. The sun, sitting high above, has blanketed everything in an unbearable heat— most of us are lounging out by the pool, cool drink in one hand, half-liquid Popsicle in the other, seemingly dead to the world in our heat-induced lethargy. But Andrew Vester ’17 refuses to be slowed down. He’s out with his team, baseball in hand, preparing for his next game. In fact, that’s where he can be found for the vast majority of the year, even when winter sets in and most of us give up and accept our new cold-induced lethargy. “I try to play straight through the winter. At most I’ll take like a week or two break,” he says. Vester plays baseball on a travel team through the Summer and Fall, practices with his team in winter, and plays on the Staples team in the spring. For him, baseball is almost therapeutic—when he’s on the field, the outside stressors in his life melt away—much like our poolside popsicles—and Vester’s able to clear his mind of all things -- except the game. However, he’s not just your average jock. When not on the field, you can find him feet up, reading Leon Uris books, playing guitar and writing news stories.