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Marlborough Girls Debate at Junior Statesman of America Conventions

Abby '15, co-president of Marlborough JSA chapter,  leads discussions on current issues.
Abby ’15, co-president of Marlborough JSA chapter, leads discussions on current issues in preparation for upcoming conventions. Photo by Lori ’15.

Members of Marlborough’s Junior Statesman of America Club, which consists of girls who are interested in politics and current events, are preparing to attend the Fall State at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott from Nov. 9 to Nov. 10 through discussions on current issues. JSA is a student-run organization that allows high-school students to explore their views on current events. Fall State is an overnight conference, while most other JSA events last one day. Because of its duration, Fall State has a greater significance and draws more participants. Junior statesmen will have the opportunity to debate current issues, contribute to thought-talks, attend mock trials, write bills, and run for a simulated congress.

Sabrina ’14 founded a JSA chapter at Marlborough a few years ago. The club is currently being run by co-presidents Samantha ’16 and Abigail ’16 and has eleven members. They meet Thursdays at lunch in order to discuss current topics that members feel passionately about, such as the government shutdown, background checks on guns, and the legalization of marijuana.

“A lot of people are new to politics,” Abigail said. “We’ve only heard what our parents talk about, so we’re kind of just forming what [views] we believe instead of what other people told us to believe.”

To prepare for Fall State, Abigail and Samantha have sent in registrations, collected checks, and coordinated with Chris Brinsley, their faculty advisor. They have also discussed current events that will appear as debate topics in Fall State, such as whether the Affordable Health-Care Act is beneficial to Americans. At a one-day event earlier this year, Abigail learned about the responsibilities of a chapter president and about summer programs, while debating current topics. Fall State offers similar debate opportunities, but its length allows for more time for socializing. Karaoke, talent shows, dances, and free time to eat enable attendees to spend time with friends and make the event more enticing.