Whether it’s about gay rights, abortion or the current presidential election, JSA: Junior State of America members will still discuss these topics. Huddled in Matthew Cone’s classroom, you will find members discussing topics that range from political to controversial. JSA is a club where students with different beliefs and opinions come together to share with other students their views. It is a national organization that brings together students who are interested in politics and government, foreign affairs, the law and education. Another quality of JSA is that the students organize every aspect of the organization. President junior Christina Qiu initially started the JSA chapter at school.
“My friend, Betty Chen, and I started JSA at Jasper after we both attended a JSA summer camp in UT Austin during the summer before freshman year,” Qiu said. “And it went really well at Jasper, so I decided to start a chapter in Plano.”
By early October, Qiu, along with Cone, had the JSA chapter up and running.
“Christina Qui has really been the most instrumental force in getting it going,” Cone said. “There was a very strong chapter at Jasper, and a lot of those kids have worked to get it off ground here” Cone said.
Students don’t need to be in debate or speech or have taken any communications class to be in JSA.
“You do not need to be a natural born orator but in order for JSA to take place, we need people with opinions,” vice president senior Pablo Morales said.
Qiu said that JSA can be confused with the Speech and Debate team because memberships of the two clubs share a common following of people and interest in discussing current events.
“JSA has a way of bringing people from different groups together just because in JSA it’s not just about talking about current events,” Morales said. “It’s a place where students have the opportunity to discuss topics that they wouldn’t or couldn’t outside of JSA simply because of their surroundings or peers. And through discussions, a lot of kids find that other students have the same thoughts and questions as they do.”
As a national organization, the JSA chapter at Plano, goes to fall and spring state competitions. There are also many opportunities available at Princeton, Stanford and Georgetown and in China.
“It’s a really versatile program that interconnects a lot of different kids from a lot of different backgrounds and beliefs,” Qiu said. “You can basically come with an open mind and opinion to talk about what you believe in.”