Members of Harker’s Junior State of America organization spent the afternoon of Oct. 11 getting out the vote at the Valley Fair mall in anticipation for the Nov. 4 general elections. The JSA registered a total of 42 new voters in about four hours.
The idea to hold the drive in a more public place was introduced at last year’s drive, also held at Valley Fair. “The main problem is that there aren’t enough students who meet the age requirement at a single time,” said JSA member Mahum Jamal, Gr. 12. “So we decided to expand our focus by holding the drive in a fairly public community.”
In addition to voter drives, the JSA also holds weekly meetings and miniconventions, where students have debates, discuss politics, feature guest speakers and hold an occasional workshop. On Nov. 4, the JSA held a “Pizza and Politics” event, where students enjoyed pizza while watching coverage of the general election. During commercial breaks, students discussed the ongoing events. This year, the JSA also plans to stage screenings of politically-oriented films and hold discussions afterward.
JSA stayed busy during the summer as well, holding a fundraising car wash and sending members to attend the Democratic and Republican conventions (see HN Oct. issue). For the 2007-08 school year, the Harker JSA was named Chapter of the Year for the Northern California region. Jamal said that although politics affect everyone in some way, high school students remain uninterested in the political process. “JSA attempts to bring politics to high school students in ways that students can relate to and enjoy,” she said. “We try and find a more comprehensive way for students to understand [the] U.S. today.” Jamal said she chose to get involved with the JSA because she wanted to bring information on governmental matters “to a generation soon to make the decisions of the world. As a cliché goes, we are the future leaders of America.”