Junior State of America Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junior_State_of_America

Junior State of America
Junior State of America (emblem).jpg
Program's logo
TypeHigh school club
Legal statusNon-profit
PurposeNon-partisan civics education program
HeadquartersOakland, California
  • 70 Washington St., Suite 320, Oakland, CA 94607
Region served
United States
Parent organization
The Junior State of America Foundation

The Junior State of America (formerly the Junior Statesmen of America), abbreviated JSA, is an American non-partisan youth organization. The purpose of JSA is to help high school students acquire leadership skills and the knowledge necessary to be effective debaters and civic participants. JSA is sponsored by the Junior State of America Foundation Inc. (JSAF, a 501c(3) non-profit corporation), which also operates the JSA Summer Schools. The Junior State of America is student-run, the largest such organization in the United States.[1][better source needed]


Students organize every aspect of the organization, from the local chapter level to the regional level. The members elect local, regional, and state leaders to organize JSA conventions, conferences, and political awareness events.

JSA is both a local and a national organization. JSA is organized by regions, somewhat congruous with the real geographic United States regions. At the high school chapter level, chapter presidents organize local activities and meetings. On the regional level, mayors and vice mayors organize regional one-day conferences. On the state level, governors and lieutenant governors organize overnight conventions and other activities. On the national level, governors are in communication with each other planning convention themes and steering the direction of the organization.

The JSA program includes debates, "thought talks," problem solving, and a variety of simulations designed to provide members with an informed viewpoint and the ability to analyse important issues. Simulations include, for example, Model United Nations, Model Congress (with a Senate and House of Representatives), crisis simulations, and other activities. JSA provides an opportunity to meet other students from outside their home communities who share similar interests; furthermore, debate conventions usually include various evening activities like dining downtown or impromptu debate.

In addition to sponsoring the JSA, the JSAF sponsors three- and four-week Summer School sessions for JSA members and other high school students. These are held at Stanford and Georgetown, and week-long symposium on state and local politics are held in several states.[2] (In years past, JSF has held Summer School sessions at Yale, Northwestern University, University of Texas at Austin, University of California, Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Princeton). Sessions include college-level courses on political science, economics, history and public speaking. Students from all over the world, (most notably England, France, Turkey, Micronesia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hong Kong) attend Summer School.[3] The revenue from these programs help fund the school-year JSA program.


JSA was founded in 1934 by Professor E. A. Rogers at the Montezuma Mountain School in Los Gatos, California, as an experiment in self-government.[4] Students at the Montezuma Mountain School set up their own three-branch government, complete with a student court, police force, executive officer, and legislative branch. The students would draft, pass, and enforce their own rules.[5]

The JSA has had liaisons with other similar organizations outside of the United States. For example, throughout the 1980s the Pacific-Northwest State developed close ties with the British Columbia Youth Parliament (BCYP). "Ambassadors" were invited from the Pacific-Northwest State to attend the December BCYP legislative session in Victoria, British Columbia, as well a number of BCYP sponsored events, including the "Vernon Conference" held in 1985, a project to celebrate the United Nations International Year of the Youth, involving the BCYP, the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta, and the JSA. In turn, the BCYP would send delegates to attend Pacific-Northwest Spring and Fall State. The Southern California state also added the American School in Honduras as a chapter in 2006 and the school's chapter attended the annual Congress convention. There are two active chapters in St. Kitts and St. Thomas, USVI. Puerto Rico has traditionally one or two chapters. All Caribbean chapters attend either the Northeast State or Mid-Atlantic State conventions.

Since its inception in 1934, more than 500,000 student members have participated in the JSA.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable former members include Leon Panetta (Former Secretary of Defense, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, White House Chief of Staff, United States Congressman, and Member of the California State Senate), Mike McCurry (Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton), Edwin Meese (Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan), Jennifer Palmieri (White House Communication Director under President Barack Obama) businessman and inventor Charles R. Schwab,[6] and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.[7] There are also 3 current JSA alumni serving in Congress: Mark Takano, Derek Kilmer, and Zoe Lofgren.

Other notable alumni[edit]


State Map of JSA

The JSA consists of 10 states which correspond roughly to the geographic territories in the United States: the Arizona State, Mid-Atlantic State, Midwest State, Northeast State, Northern California State, Ohio River Valley State, Pacific Northwest State, Southeast State, Southern California State, and the Texas State. Each state is broken into one or more regions. If a state contracts below a certain operational level, the Council of Governors may vote to make the state a territory. The Council may also break states into multiple territories if they become too large to be effectively managed.

The sponsoring JSAF is a non-profit organization with an adult board of directors, trustees and paid staff. The JSA receives administrative and programming support from the JSF.

Arizona State[edit]

The Arizona State comprises Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.[15]

Current Governor:

•Rebecca Sanchez Gila Ridge High School 2021–2022

Current Lieutenant Governor:

•Rebecca Sanchez Gila Ridge High School 2020–2021

Current Chief of Staff:

•Tessa Deconcini University High School (Tucson) 2019–2020

Mid-Atlantic State[edit]

The Mid-Atlantic State is composed of chapters from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina.[15] The Mid-Atlantic State is divided into the New Jersey Region (NJ) and the South Atlantic District (PA, MD, DE, VA, NC). The New Jersey Region is the most populated JSA region in the nation. Winter Congress is held in Arlington, Virginia, while the Spring and Fall State Conventions rotate between Parsippany, NJ and Woodbridge, NJ.

The Mid-Atlantic state had the largest number of voters in its 2020 virtual election with over 1,500 participants.

Current Governor:

  • George Botros (South Jersey Chapter) 2021–2022[16]

Current LTG:

Current Speaker of the State Assembly:

Current South Atlantic Executive:

Current NJR Mayor:

Current NJR Vice Mayor:

Midwest State[edit]

The Midwest State encompasses the Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.[15]

Current Governor: Mehek Taneja (Naperville North High School) 2021–2022

Current LTG: Sabrina Zhang (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy) 2021-2022

Northeast State[edit]

The Northeast is composed of chapters from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.[15] It boasts two regions, the New England Region (VT, NH, MA, RI) and the Empire Constitution Region (CT, NY).

Winter Congress is held in Arlington, Virginia, while the Spring and Fall State Conventions rotate between Boston, MA, Stamford, CT, and Providence, RI.

Current Governor:

Current LTG:

Current ECR Mayor:

Current ECR Vice Mayor:

Current NER Mayor:

  • Zachary Roberts (Westford Academy) 2019–2020

Current NER Vice Mayor:

  • Caroline Riemer (Westford Academy) 2019–2020

Northern California State[edit]

NorCal is composed of chapters from California, Nevada, and Utah.[15] It has four regions: the Golden Gate Region, the Central Valley Region, the Greater California Region, and the East Bay Region. NorCal is the oldest JSA state in the country, dating back to the founding of the organization in 1934.

Fall and Spring State are held in San Jose, CA and Winter State is held in Sacramento, CA.

Current Governor:

Current Lieutenant Governor:

Current Speaker of the Council of Chapter Presidents:

Ohio River Valley State[edit]

The Ohio River Valley (ORV) includes chapters from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee.[15] The state contains the Southwest District and North Central District. Fall State is held annually in Columbus, OH. Winter Congress is held annually in Washington, D.C. Spring State is held annually in Florence, KY. The ORV government is composed of a program director, a governor, a lieutenant governor and a cabinet. The cabinet contains ten different departments, with 10 directors and 20 specialists.

Current Governor: Aneetej Arora (Dublin Coffman High School) 2021–2022

Current Lieutenant Governor: Suvan Dometti (Dublin Coffman High School) 2021–2022

Pacific Northwest State[edit]

The Pacific Northwest has chapters from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.[15] The state has three regions: the Great Pacific Region (western WA), the Inland Empire Region (eastern WA, ID, MT, WY), and the Oregon Region (OR).

Current Governor: Addy Dunbar

Current Lieutenant Governor: Malcolm Certain

Southeast State[edit]

The Southeast state comprises chapters from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.[15]

Southern California State[edit]

The Southern California state comprises southern California and small parts of Nevada.[15]

Current Governor:

Current Lieutenant Governor:

Current Speaker of the Assembly:

It is organized into three regions:

Angeles Region[edit]

The Angeles Region consists of greater and Downtown Los Angeles, all the way to West Hollywood. It is the largest region of Southern California.

Southern Empire Region[edit]

The Southern Empire Region consists of Orange County and Anaheim.

Channel Islands Region[edit]

The Channel Islands Region consists of coastal regions and Santa Barbara.

Texas State[edit]

The Texas State compromises of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.[15] Their Fall and Spring State is hosted at the Texas Capitol Building in Austin, Texas and Houston, Texas respectively.[17] Texas State's Winter Congress is hosted in Washington, D.C. with Mid-Atlantic State,[18] and their state elected officials include the following:[19]

Texas Junior State Governor:

  • Jason Yao (Bellaire High School) 2021–2022
    • Chief of Staff: Ethan Pollack (BASIS San Antonio) 2021–2022

Texas Junior State Lieutenant Governor:

Texas Junior State Speaker of the House:

The Texas Junior State is organized into two regions and two counties, with mayors serving as leaders of regions and administrators serving as leaders of counties:

Gulf Coast Region (GCR)[edit]

The Gulf Coast Region consists of the Gulf Coast of Texas, with Houston serving as the center of the region. The 2021–2022 Gulf Coast Mayor is Anna Maag.

Alamo Capitol Region (ACR)[edit]

The Alamo Capitol Region consists of the center of Texas, encompassing cities such as Austin and San Antonio. The 2021–2022 Alamo Capitol Mayor is Carlos Cerna.

Panhandle Metroplex County (PMC)[edit]

The Panhandle Metroplex County consists of the Northeast quadrant of Texas, encompassing cities such as Dallas, Plano, and Fort Worth. The 2021–2022 Panhandle Metroplex County Administrator is Leo Yu.

Rio Grande County (RGC)[edit]

The Rio Grande County consists of the Southern tip of Texas, encompassing cities such as McAllen and Edinburg. The 2021–2022 Rio Grande County Administrator is Lauren Marquez.

JSA events[edit]

Fall and Spring State conventions[edit]

Fall State and Spring State are statewide overnight conventions at regional hotels and convention centers. Both consist of debates, thought talks, and special activities, including political fairs and a casual dance. Fall State is one night, students typically arrive at the hotel on a Saturday and return home the following day. Spring State, by comparison, usually takes place over three days, students arriving at the hotel on a Friday and returning on Sunday. At this longer spring convention JSA members in attendance elect regional leaders for the upcoming year. Both Fall and Spring State conventions are highlighted by prestigious keynote speakers, with past speakers including Pat Robertson, Ralph Nader, Colin Powell, Jahana Hayes, Tom Malinowski, Fareed Zakaria and Joe Trippi.[20]

Winter Congress convention[edit]

Winter Congress is structured similar to the United States Congress: students are divided into Senate and House of Representative committees. Student delegates pass bills in committees and then in floor sessions of the Senate and House. If a bill passes both houses, it becomes JSA law.

Regional conferences[edit]

There are also smaller, regional conferences and chapter-conferences ("chapter-cons") which occur on a local level. Regionals are run by the Mayors and Vice-Mayors of Regions along with the Regional Cabinet members that they appoint. Chapter-cons are usually hosted by chapters at individual schools and are not officially JSA-sponsored events.

Elected positions and cabinet[edit]

As a student-run organization, each JSA state holds elections yearly at the Spring State conventions to elect student elected officials who serve one-year terms. Each state elects a Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as various other offices that differ from state to state. These officials each appoint a small cabinet that helps them run the organization by completing tasks such as organizing convention logistics, writing debates, producing publicity materials, founding new chapters, and running websites. There is also a National Cabinet appointed by the Council of Governors. JSA officials and cabinet members are typically extremely dedicated to JSA, and often spend many hours per week doing their jobs.

Summer programs[edit]

After the school year is over, JSA and JSF offer numerous summer programs. The biggest programs, which are held at major universities, are Summer Schools, which are conducted by the Junior Statesmen Foundation and offer students an opportunity to study local, state, or national government at an advanced level. These programs are meant to prepare young leaders for active participation in public affairs.

These programs, at which students take a full semester of two courses over three or four weeks, for which they can receive high school credit, take place at Stanford, Georgetown, Princeton, and Beijing. Along with debate and regular classes (including Advanced Placement and Law Classes), students participate in a vigorous Speaker's Program in which notable speakers talk about current issues to the students. Past speakers have included Mike McCurry, Andy Card, Ben Bernanke, Lee H. Hamilton, Norman Mineta, Joe Trippi, Dennis Kucinich, Chuck Hagel, Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Geraldine Ferraro, John Kerry, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, Ted Rall, George H.W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Ed Meese, Bernie Sanders, Brian Williams, Karl Rove, Sebastian Gorka, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Summer institutes are also held in different regions, such as the summer symposium of Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA, Princeton University and University of Texas. These events are four- to five-days long and venture into politics, world studies, history, national security and discussions of current events. Princeton's event is nicknamed "Princetitute." These events used to be known as symposia.

Every summer, the newly elected governors each choose a select few from their states or territories to attend the Montezuma National Leadership Summit (affectionately known as "Zuma"). The summit is held in early-to-mid August at Presentation Center in Los Gatos, California, the former site of the Montezuma Mountain School where JSA was founded in 1934. Students who are selected to attend this summit learn more about the history and national dynamics of JSA. Being selected for attendance is considered one of the ultimate JSA honors, and many of the students that attend lead future years of the Junior State. Subsequently, two or three students are selected out of class to become a National Montezuma Foundation Student Advisor, working with the Junior State Foundation to preside over budget and funding allocations for the National Montezuma Summit.


  1. ^ "Experience – JSA". Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  2. ^ Ward, William J., New Jersey Eminent Domain Law Blog, Aug. 15, 2007, "Junior Statesmen hear eminent domain talk," http://www.njeminentdomain.com/state-of-new-jersey-junior-statesmen-hear-eminent-domain-talk.html
  3. ^ Author Unknown, Government of the Federated States of Micronesia, June 5, 1997, "Six FSM High School Students Selected for 1997 DOI Junior Statesmen Summer School," http://www.fsmgov.org/press/pr06059a.htm
  4. ^ Author Unknown, Los Gatos Weekly Times, Aug. 16, 2000, "Junior Statesmen alumni gather," http://www.svcn.com/archives/lgwt/08.16.00/jrstatesmen-0033.html
  5. ^ Author Unknown, "Junior Statesmen," Time Magazine, Sept. 14, 1942
  6. ^ a b c "Notable Alumni – JSA". www.jsa.org. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  7. ^ "Notable Alumni of the Junior State of America". Junior State of America. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Uniting Nationwide". JSA Alumni Association. 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  9. ^ "Lanhee Chen – JSA". www.jsa.org. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  10. ^ a b c "Alumni – JSA". www.jsa.org. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  11. ^ "JSA 80th Anniversary Memory Book — For some families, JSA enters the fiber of..." JSA 80th Anniversary Memory Book. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  12. ^ "Beth Labson Freeman – JSA". www.jsa.org. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  13. ^ a b "About – The Southern California State". states.jsa.org. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  14. ^ "JSA Results". joinjsa.weebly.com. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "JSA States & Elected Officials". JSA. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Gubernatorial Cabinet". JSA Mid-Atlantic State. Junior State of America. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Fall State – The Texas State". states.jsa.org. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  18. ^ "Winter Congress – The Texas State". states.jsa.org. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  19. ^ "Texas JSA Cabinet – The Texas State". states.jsa.org. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  20. ^ "Convention Activities – JSA". www.jsa.org. Retrieved 2018-09-08.

External links[edit]