By Bailey Shelton, Editor-in-Chief
With the G-C branch of JSA flying back from Washington D.C. and the Winter Congress, another year of student based political discussion is slowly being wrapped with a tight bow.
Every year, the Greenfield-Central chapter of JSA travels to Washington, DC to meet with other chapters around the country. They hold an annual mock congress to simulate political discourse in modern politics.
The mock congressional discussions brought one Greenfield-Central-sponsored bill to the floor on the weekend of Feb. 11, a potential law proposing the abolition of minimum wage while allowing low wage workers to unionize more easily. The proposition, written by JSA Chapter President Tyler Combs,12, was shut down quickly once it made its way to the floor. The other bill proposed by G-C, which stated that all convicted sexual assault criminals should be sentenced to a life in prison, did not even make it that far. The legislation proposed by Lydia Wasson, 12, and Emily Grant, 10, fizzled before being passed through to the pseudo-congressional floor.
“Since our bill wasn’t picked to be presented, I was selected to be a senator. I could talk and ask any questions about the bill if I wanted to,” said Grant.
As a senior, this was James Colter’s final time attending the conference that initially sparked his interest in the club. “It was definitely not only seeing all of the sights but also just seeing all my friends from the years before. If you’re in JSA you see the same people again from year to year, so at conference the draw (to the congress) isn’t just the debates; it’s the people and seeing DC as well.”
The conference came to a close on that coming Sunday, and after a visit to a few national monuments and adviser Sarah Ketchum’s first visit to the National Gallery of Art, the Greenfield members of JSA packed up for the bus ride home. However, the anticipated respite didn’t last forever. That coming Monday, the newest candidates for the clubs elections took the podium.
This year, sophomores Frances LaBore and Emily Grant have declared candidacy for chapter president, both on platforms to raise club attendance. LaBore is taking the angle of a vetted member of the club, saying experience makes her qualified for the position. Grant, on the other hand, is running at the tail end of her first year in JSA, and said she can bring outsiders in from that angle.
“I can definitely see progress coming for GC’s JSA chapter over the next few years,” said Grant.
Other campaigners include Steven Coffin, 10, and Tyler Elam, 9, for vice-president, with John Scott, 9, Steven Bass, 9, and Marissa Macy, 10, for secretary. The elections heavily mimic real life processes and Ketchum says there are strict guidelines to make the campaign trail even.
“Campaigns in JSA are done in a regimented way. Candidates have a spending limit for campaign materials. There is also a very strict “no mud-slinging” policy. Candidates focus on the positive things they will do, rather than trying to degrade their competitors,” said Ketchum.
The JSA chapter grew heavily in numbers this year, more than doubling attendance with the addition of underclassmen members. Although the end of this year will see the graduation of members Lydia Wasson, Noah Hite, James Colter, Hannah Edwards, and chapter president Tyler Combs, 12, the club has hope for a bright future in these young starters.
“They will definitely be missed. With that being said, however, I have great hope for the future of the chapter. We have an excellent group of sophomore students who have really stepped up when it comes to chapter leadership,” said Ketchum.
The Greenfield-Central chapter of JSA will be hosting its own conference on March 12 from 10 a.m to 3 p.m in the Cougar Meeting Room at G-C. The title of the conference is PCon, and it will dive into subjects of diversity, tolerance, and free speech on college campuses. The event is open for public attendance, and several teachers will be offering extra credit to come. Contact Tyler Combs at [email protected] or Mrs. Ketchum at [email protected] for more details.