JSA makes their debut at first conference


Zoe McDonnell

JSA members at their first debate convention.

Katherine Lombardi

The newly-established CHS Chapter of the Junior State of America (JSA) took its first club trip to the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Fall State Conference on Nov. 19 and 20. JSA club members arrived at CHS at 8 a.m. on Saturday and traveled to the Woodbridge Renaissance Hotel in Iselin, NJ. The students returned to the school on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Planning for this event began in early October, when JSA president Samara Ghali had to have the trip approved by principal James Gleason.

Along with a $5 club membership fee, students had to pay $135 to cover the cost of attending the conference and the hotel room, but did not have to pay the usual $175 due to early registration, Ghali said.

Various JSA chapters from schools across the Mid-Atlantic region attended the conference, which featured multiple debates on current topics or issues with student speakers and moderators.

Main speakers for each debate were chosen at random from a pool of students who signed up prior to the conference. Students were also subsequent speakers for debates throughout the weekend, including freshman Vaughn Battista of Tinton Falls, who enjoyed both speaking at and watching debates.  

“I was a subsequent speaker for many debates, and I was a main speaker for one debate,” said Battista. “The thoughtful discussion in most debates were very interesting. I would consider attending a future convention.”

“For a first convention I think it was successful and as long as it met everyone’s expectations,” said Ghali. “I think people overall really enjoyed themselves and look forward to the next convention.”