JSA attends Fall State Convention


Olga Boukhvalova

BC JSA-ers pose inside the Capitol building for a picture. Top row: Maura Barry (‘18), Rachel Buechel (‘18), Emily Arnold (‘16), Kaitlyn Willms (‘16), Emily Lambert (‘16), Anna Barry (‘16), Lucas Stormowski (‘16), Max Sommerfeld (‘18), Madame Mary Mann, Maria Farrokhnia (‘16); Bottom row: Olga Boukhvalova (‘17), Hannah Pyatetskiy (‘16), Elli Haris (‘16), Lexi Shah (‘16), Owen Eppel (‘19), Aritra Chakraborty (‘18), Grace Hughes (‘18). Not pictured: Victoriya Tarakanova (‘17).

On the weekend of November 13 and 14, 2015, the Brookfield Central Chapter of the Junior Statesmen of America attended Midwest Fall State, one of three large conventions that are available for members. With a record attendance of seventeen JSA-ers at the convention, the club showed its sizable growth this year. For many members this was their first large JSA gathering and first time meeting Statesmen from chapters around the Midwest. Others were glad to return to the Madison State Capitol, sit in and participate in debates in the Capitol Building, and reconnect with familiar faces.

Notably, a handful of our chapter’s members took on speaking positions at the convention. Hannah Pyatetskiy (’16) and JSA newcomer Lexi Shah (’16) tackled the side favoring the elimination of affirmative action. This was also a Taboo debate, meaning they were forbidden to use the words, “universities,” “discrimination,” or “minorities” to argue their case. In addition, Olga Boukhvalova (’17) argued in a rapid-fire debate against the following statement: birthright citizenship be revoked for the children of illegal immigrants. All three of these members won their debates and proudly represented Brookfield Central. Aside from formal debates held in the Capitol building, the Fall State convention offered amusing night activities and comical debates. JSA-ers had fun debating topics such as whether or not Donald Trump’s hair is real, and what to do if Hogwarts sent you an acceptance letter. Emily Arnold (’16), the vice president of BC’s JSA, took part in the Mock Presidential Debate and played the part of candidate Carly Fiorina. After a long day of serious debates, JSA members were able to relax and socialize through a few rounds of “Speed Dating” and a dance.

Every Statesman came away from the event having learned something and gaining valuable memories. Participants did not have to speak in a debate to take something away from the experience.

Maria Farrokhnia (’16), chapter Historian, comments that “it was incredible to experience debates and have conversations with passionate people about significant current issues that impact us today.”

Despite being a club centered around debate, one thing the club agrees on is that the environment at a Junior Statesmen convention is like no other; it is filled with people willing to share their opinion about world events and political topics without fear of judgment.

After all the fun members had and all the bonding they shared at the convention, leaving the Capitol and saying goodbye to all their new friends was tough. Many convention goers, however, are excited to return next year, and others are thrilled to get to attend Winter Congress in Washington D.C. this February as well as Spring State.