Twenty-two York students participated in the 2017 Northern California Junior State of America (JSA) Fall State Convention. The purpose of JSA is to encourage students to: achieve a better understanding of the governmental process, increase their awareness of contemporary issues, promote student involvement in politics, and encourage good leadership qualities. The convention is centered around student-run debates and "thought talks" and includes hundred of students from all around Northern California. York participants were: Helena Bartkowski, Sophia Taylor-Home, Nicole Kavalauskas, Katie Whilden, Akasha Brown, Bethany Blakeman, Angela Goulart, Katie Calciano, Maddie Litman, Kathryn Yeager, Sophie Rasmussen, Maegan Capistrano, Kaira Aldape Duron, Natalie Sanford, Max Burke, Tristen Laney, Arjun Mayur, Bryce Hodges, Colin Hodges, Jordan Mosebach, Andrew Simpson and Leonardo Del Toro.
During the weekend, our students argued on the side of the long arc of justice and for scientific research and personal liberty. Some of the debate topics they covered included: hate speech, sexual assault on campus, commercialism of the feminist cause, assisted suicide, racial injustice, and gun control.
Congratulations to all our debaters and especially Andrew Simpson '19, Tristen Laney '19, and Helena Bartkowski '19. Even when students were clearly in the wrong, like Helena's brave support for animal prisons (she called them "zoos"), they glimmered with passion. Tristen even walked out of the car from one event, dropped off his luggage, strolled into the largest debate hall, and went toe-to-toe in a debate format designed so that your opponent can interrupt you. He was recognized with a "gavel" for a speech on immigration in the US.
It was an incredible weekend and kudos to all of our student debaters!