JSA, Where Your Voice Matters

Maya Colon, Writer

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The Junior State of America (JSA) is the largest student-run debate organization in the United States. JSA started in 1934 at the Montezuma School in California and now has over 11,000 members in more than 500 high schools across America, and SJV is one of them.

Schools that become a part of the JSA community are called “chapters.” Samantha Jaegar (‘16), started our school’s chapter in 2013. The current president of SJV’s chapter is Ronnie Nuzzolo. The club includes many officer positions, with seven available to uphold. The Vice President is Coleton DiMezza (‘19), Secretary is Alyssa Martin (‘18), Treasurer is Catherine Bannon (‘18), Director of Debate is William DeMuria (‘18), Director of Technology is Peter James (‘18), and Director of Expansion is Charley Baker (‘19).

When speaking to Nuzzolo, he made it a point to recognize his officers’ work, saying, “Our V.P., Coleton DiMezza, has been a key recruitment officer and has expanded our club with underclassmen who are now getting their voices out and ideas heard,” tells Nuzzolo.

Each officer in JSA has their own role in the club. The club’s Director of Technology sends polls out to the members when a debate topic is chosen and helps with Blackboard updates. The Director of Debate, William DeMuria, takes credit for his heated, argumentative, and truly authentic debates. Every topic he has chosen travelled through the halls with many students talking and debating. The Treasurer and Secretary handle all of the convention money, fundraising, and attendance. Charley Baker is the new Director of Expansion, and she makes sure to get the word out about the club.

What most people do not know is that JSA is not an average club. It is actually a  student run non-profit organization. Each week, student leaders who serve the Mid-Atlantic State contact the president of our chapter to ensure that the club is doing well.

JSA participates in five conventions each year held in Woodbridge, NJ, Washington D.C., and at Princeton University so that students can debate and learn. There are two One-Day conventions at Princeton University. For the overnight conventions, there are two in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. The Fall and Spring conventions are held in Woodbridge, NJ where students vote on new JSA officials, debate, and even participate in nighttime activities. In Winter, students attend a convention in Washington D.C. and have a full day to do whatever they decide in the city, including a Moonlight Monument Tour that visits all of the D.C. monuments.

JSA is a very welcoming club with unlimited options when it comes to getting involved. The club is a judgment-free and accepts members of all ideas and political affiliations. By participating in the annual conventions, you will make many great connections with people interested in what you love to do, and most importantly, you will have fun!

Other students can become a part of the club by simply emailing Ronnie Nuzzolo at rnuzzolo2018620@sjvhs.com.

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