JSA team members travel to Washington D.C.


Photo courtesy of Samantha LaRochelle.

Katherine Lombardi

Members of the CHS Junior State of America (JSA) chapter participated in debate, student activism and political conversation at the annual Winter Congress in Washington D.C., Feb. 23 to 26.

Accompanied by Spanish teacher Karen Britto, school nurse Dorothy Condon and two parents chaperones, 26 students attended the conference with JSA members from across the Mid-Atlantic state region and Texas.

Britto has chaperoned for JSA multiple times in the past, including last year’s Winter Congress. Overall, she enjoyed her experience this year.

“The experience was lovely,” Britto said. “The kids were well-behaved and grateful and I think that it was a meaningful experience for all involved.”

Unlike Fall State, another JSA event, students had the opportunity to submit bills for debate prior to the event. The bills were debated in a mock Senate and House of Representatives. Like the U.S. Federal Government, bills that received a majority vote in the Senate and House were passed.

Sophomore Sara Huang of Ocean attended Winter Congress for the second time and sponsored a bill about decriminalizing prostitution, but it did not pass in the Senate.

“My goal is to push my bill again next year and get it passed,” Huang said.

JSA council began plans for the trip months beforehand. JSA president and senior Samara Ghali of Colts Neck said that there were multiple steps in organizing the trip.

“We need at least one CHS chaperone per every ten members that signed up,” Ghali said. “We  collected two permission slips and $350 from each student, not including those who received scholarships, and we registered online on top of sending everything to JSA in the mail.”

Sophomore Liam Jamolod of Howell attended his first Winter Congress this year and said he will continue participation in the future.

“I definitely would attend more, as it really helps to educate me on topics I’m not necessarily well versed in,” Jamolod said.