Irvington JSA goes to the Fall Convention at Santa Clara


Anurag Kuppala

Secretary and Treasurer Kirti Nangia, President Karina Gulati, and JSA member Vani Anilkumar, along with other JSA competitors, traveled to Santa Clara to compete in a multitude of events and debates about politics in the Norcal Fall Convention

Atira Nair, Staff Writer

Recently revived club Junior Statesmen of America, or JSA, kicked off the year with the Norcal Fall Convention at Santa Clara on Nov 12-13. The convention, which was held at the Santa Clara Marriott, presented an opportunity for students all across the nation to engage in politics by discussing issues, arguing in debates, simulating mock trials, and participating in other activities that enhance students’ knowledge of the political world.

“This convention was particularly interesting because you won’t find anything like this for the next 4 years, or even for the next 50 years, because there hasn’t ever been an election so controversial and thought-provoking, “ said JSA president, junior Karina Gulati. The convention boasted topics ranging from feminism and presidential candidates to even climate change. Irvington’s JSA members prepared for the convention by researching current events and creating a six minute speech about a political issue. Events were available where students wrote and recited a speech concerning a social or political issue in front of a crowd of student judges who were able to vote on the winning speech. For instance, some members participated in the “Free the Nipple” event, where they spoke about feminism and women’s rights. Notable wins at this convention included junior Subaita Rahman, who won first place in her event. Her debate discussed Islam and whether or not it is considered a nation.

Other events, such as Thought Talks, were available for students who were uncomfortable with speaking in front of a big crowd. These events were similar to socratic seminars. In these events, no awards were given, as they are primarily to increase students’ public speaking skills and confidence. There was also a Political Fair at the convention, which allowed students to meet lobbyists and representatives of some political parties to learn more about the American political system. Keynote speakers, such as CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria, Congressman Ron Paul, and Senator Kay Bailey gave speeches where students were allowed to ask questions and learn more from the experience.

“The atmosphere in the convention was casual and it looked like everyone was really enjoying the opportunity to come and compete at the convention,” said junior Raj Jagannath.

Irvington’s JSA members concluded the event with dances and karaoke battles. This year’s Fall State Convention gave IHS JSA members a look into the political world with many interactive experiences and activities. JSA has many more conventions and learning experiences to anticipate in the future.