Pitman Junior States of America

Pitman Junior States of America

Emily Ascencio (12th), Reporter


Pitman’s very own Junior State of America Club hosted CVR chapter con on Saturday, September 21st. They had various debates and simulations that students from many different schools, not just Pitman, participated in. 

JSA is centered around students developing leadership skills and getting more involved with real-world events. Club advisor, Mr. Farhadian, has worked very hard to make sure students have a place to strengthen their leadership skills and educate themselves on political topics.

Club president, Alani Hodge, gave a brief overview of what JSA is and the activities they do. “JSA is the largest non-partisan student-run organization in America. Basically what we do is we host conventions where people go to a hotel and they go over various debates, hot topics in America, and educate kids on the political spectrum and where they might lie on that.” 

The students debated on different political topics like whether the age of consent should be lowered to 16 and whether police instill fear to the public. The students were split into two groups based on what topic they wanted to debate. Each student had their interesting perspectives on these topics. They made their viewpoints easy and clear to understand, even for those who weren’t familiar with the topic. 

The first few debates were set up almost like a Socratic seminar. The desks were set up in a circle and the students could give their perspectives on the subject. Since many of the subjects discussed are extremely controversial, each debate had a moderator to make sure things would go as smoothly as possible. 

Seniors, Arin Rosas, and Alani Hodge had a lively debate on whether police instill fear and what rights citizens have. Although this topic could easily become a heated debate, the students respected each other and their opinions. 

After a short lunch break, the club members did a few more rounds of different debates, one being censorship in the media and whether it’s an infringement on first amendment rights. Certain debates were set up more formally. The students had three minutes to give their arguments. If the speaker ran out of time the students had the option to vote on whether they wanted to extend the speaker’s time or move on to someone else. Once again, a moderator was making sure everything ran smoothly. 

Although the topics are very controversial they did try to have some more light-hearted moments in between rounds to balance things out. Many of the students came from other high schools. This allowed everyone to meet someone new and have fresh new outlooks on certain subjects. 

Halfway through the event a very special guest appeared, Turlock’s Mayor, Amy Bublak. She gave a very encouraging speech to the students and even mentioned possible political internship opportunities that could be coming their way. 

I’d say JSA chapter con was a success. I highly recommend students attend these events and even look into joining JSA. It will give you a new perspective on political topics and help turn you into a confident leader.