I am 75 years old, but my experience with JSA as a high school student has influenced my life ever since. I learned the facts of our government as well as the art of governing, using the annual convention in Sacramento to bring items to the floor for consideration. JSA summer school taught the constitution to me, and the founders' thoughts embedded in it. I have actively followed, and participated in politics ever since. I am proud to say that I have never failed to vote in an election since my 18th birthday, many years ago. The influence of JSA on my life has indeed endured!
Back when I was a sophomore in high school, many of my classmates decided that drinking alcohol was the only thing they wanted to do on weekends. In addition to learning about politics and public speaking, the Junior State introduced me to dozens of potential friends who were interested in so much more than getting wasted. High Schools can be very limiting environments, and allowing students to mingle with a larger group of people, for an intelligent purpose, can make a huge difference to anyone who's struggling with social issues. I wasn't the only one from my school who benefited from JSA's activities.
This organization helped me foster my voice and passion for civic engagement. I had the opportunity to develop leadership skills and shoulder several “adult” responsibilities by serving on state cabinet and as a Chapter President of a student-run club. I would not be the same confident young woman if it weren’t for the amazing experiences I had throughout my four years in this organization. JSA gave me friends for life, and it is especially important now more than ever that we provide students with an environment where they can grow politically and develop the confidence to let their voices.
I went to JSA Princeton in 2010, and learned about college and what needs to be done in order to succeed not only in college, but in life. I made lots of great people and got to experience college life before actually going college.
To " Make Democracy Work"
As a member of the very first girls' Summer School class (an 8 week residential program in 1946, held at Mills college, Oakland CA) this was a thrilling and life-expanding experience not only for me, but for 23 other teen-age girls brought together from throughout California.
The impact of that JSA summer, and subsequent involvement with JSA activities and friends, followed by civic involvement in all the years since, has remained an important part of my life for more than 70 years! Thank you JSA!
When I found out about JSA, I knew it was a program I had to get involved in. As a mock trial, and debate student, and having immense interest in social sciences it was exactly the opportunity I was looking for. However all opportunities come with a cost, and JSA's tuition cost was unfortunately out of my bounds, with then recent financial struggle that me and my family were going through. But I worked hard, and decided that I was going to participate in this educational program no matter what, and I was happy to have been in touch with some of the most understanding and supporting people/staff of JSA. They accommodated me as much as they could, and went the extra mile for me, so I would get to participate in the program. This opportunity changed my dreams, it not only helped me better understand what I want to do in the future, but it made me understand just how much I can do now at my age. And yes I knew anything is possible so long as you put your mind to it, but this program reinforced how much power I as a teen, had to make changes to my environment, to help people, to achieve my dreams before I become old. It is also what gave me further motivation to work harder towards my educational and career goals. Since then I have shared my knowledge and experience with many of my friends and classmates, to motivate them towards their goals. Also in JSA I was fortunate to make soo many new friends, valuable friends that I still keep in touch with, and we help each other on college apps, and questions. I met some of the best students from all around the world, with different dreams, ideas, and interests. I personally love diversity, because its I think one thing that makes things more interesting, I love sharing ideas, because from multiple ideas and interests there is so many new things one can create. I personally was part of the JSA summer program at Stanford University, were I got to know the campus and college life better, and so I can say that when I go to college, I will be much more comfortable with the idea. JSA staff were very supportive during the program and in a funny way I found myself saying over and over again that they were my second family in a sense. While they are serious, and they create the opportunities for us to meet notable representatives congressman and many other politicians, from whom we can learn more, and provide professors who teach us how to properly debate and think regarding politics without dismissing the other side, they are also very goofy, and fun. They make the whole experience even better, with their trips around the school, to museums, and cities. My time in JSA was one of the best times I ever had in my entire life. I strongly recommend any student or teen to this program, and it doesn't matter if you want to become. a lawyer, artist, businessman, or musician, this program is for every student, because it teaches about thought, analysis, morals, and basics of politics that all people should know.
Six years out of high school, my JSA friends are still my best friends. Though I had never cared about politics before joining, I studied political science and have a greater understanding of how my world works thanks to all the debates and activities I took part in. JSA gave me the confidence and skills that have helped me secure full time jobs today.
I love this organization. I was a founding chapter member in high school and it really sparked my interest in civic engagement. Now I run a policy analysis consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio and I feel like the entrepreneurship skills I learned there set me up for it!
JSA truly changed my life. My high school experience went from a small box to seeing our nation's Capitol, studying with university professors, and meeting students from all over the USA. While I never aspired to public office, JSA expanded my feeling of possibility, readied me for college, and gave me communication skills that have benefitted me and my community for a lifetime. JSA is worthy of the highest support from donors and neighborhoods who all need a citizenry who can think critically and communicate with accuracy, precision, and confidence.
My name is Cherylyn Aulerio and I am an alumni student of JSA. I attended the program at Stanford University about 5 years ago and I can honestly say I learned a lot from my peers, my RA's (mentors), and my professors. With that, I figured what I wanted to be when I grew up and I am still following through with what I planned 5 years ago. JSA not only teaches students about political issues, it teaches students about what can be done regarding those issues. I learned so much from my experiences as an islander and I believe this program would help many more.
The experience in JSA (then CJS) and the learning from the summer school courses were of significant help in me in my later career. Aside from government and politics, which turned out not to be the major part of my career, the training in how to work with people, how to communicate both formally and informally, and how to think critically were important. I went on to a successful career in science and the related businesses, and JSA experience was clearly important in preparing me for that and helping me to enter universities important to that career. An excellent investment of time and modest money, and it was fun to boot.
I highly recommend this organization! The staff and students participating in JSA are highly motivated, organized and enjoy the winter and summer Congress that are sponsored by JSA. As a chaperone I’ve always been impressed by the debate topics presented by the students and their debate skills and working with each other. Continued success to JSA!
JSA served my high school with a top-tier debate program, facilitating regional and national tournaments. JSA provided civic and leadership opportunities while preparing myself and classmates for collegiate-level debate participation. Additional, the foundation runs a number of college-prep summer school programs -- one of which I attended.
I credit JSA for the educational and work opportunities that I have been lucky to receive since.
I got interested in the debate club in High School.. It was called JSA.. It was so much fun debating and preparing to debate and engaging in healthy discourse.. Something that would be much appreciated in todays political environment. This organization set the seed for one of my biggest passions in life, It was part of the reason I ran for public office, it is a reason I engage in Civic Activity and give back.. The Summer Program in Georgetown cemented the passion. There is truth to the fact that JSA creates solid leaders in our country and for that I am personally and generally thankful to this organization for making us all better.
JSA is one of the nation's most important NGOs. It teaches critical thinking, civil discourse, and youth leadership through the medium of debate. I am a proud alumni, volunteer, and donor.
I am an alumnus of both the summer program at the University of Texas at Austin and the summer program at Georgetown University. Moreover, my senior year of high school, I became engaged with the year-round organization attending conferences across my home state of Texas, engaging in serious debates on public policy and cultural advancement, and building an incredible network of rising leaders that has served me throughout college and my professional career. JSA introduced me to my passion for civic engagement. It was the first program I attended in which there existed a vast community of civically engaged and politically aware young people. My peers in the program inspired me to refine my understanding of our government, international relations, and national history. My peers made me a better citizen and a better human being.
Now, in my mid-twenties, reflecting back on my JSA experience, I cannot sufficiently convey my gratitude. I would not be who I am today without my experience in the organization. The program enhanced and broadened my academic capability (increasing 10 points in my ACT score after the program). Moreover, had it not been for my experience with JSA (specifically the Georgetown program), I would not have applied, been admitted, and graduated college from Georgetown University (Class of 2014). Moreover, it gave me the confidence to pursue opportunities I never would have imagined possible. My growth in JSA, equipped me with the gumption to seek out opportunities that led to internships in municipal, federal, and international government while in undergrad. I lived abroad for half a year studying culture. Post college, I moved from Texas to New York City to immerse myself in the regulatory environment of the U.S. financial system, and now I am applying to law school. I encourage anyone who is even mildly interested to apply and pursue. You will increase your understanding of yourself tenfold. Your life (and its trajectory) will change substantially.
JSA is a vital organization that fosters youth leadership, civic engagement, and critical thinking. I participated in high school as a member, chapter president, conference attendee, mini conference organizer, regional leader, and Stanford summer school graduate. Those experiences helped me gain confidence, speaking skills, independence, empathy, and a deep interest in politics. Those skills have never left me, and I give JSA credit for instilling and preserving those traits I cherish so much today, 25+ years after high school. I donate every year and will keep doing so until I die.
I participated in JSA through all four years of high school and went to three summer schools. JSA was central to my understanding of civics and how to be a good citizen, providing an experience I couldn't get in the classrooms of my high school (which is a great school -- JSA just adds something extra that you can't get in a regular classroom!). It helped me meet people with different backgrounds and different points of view, which ultimately changed my outlook on the world. I'm grateful that JSA was a big part of my formative years. I would not be the person I am today without it. I have a much broader perspective and remain eager to hear other sides so I can learn from my peers. I also learned that in a civil society, every citizen is indeed your peer! When I look at the way our country is operating politically today, I wish more students had the opportunities that JSA provides. That's why I continue to donate every year. Thank you JSA!