Junior State of America club makes big plans for second year


photo by Kate Haas

Junior Brooklynn Cnare, secretary of JSA, speaks with junior Shrinidhi Thiruvengadam, president, and junior Jacquelyn Burrer, vice president, about their plans for the club this year. They hope JSA raises awareness about politics among students. “A lot of people don’t realize how prominent politics is going to be in our generation’s lives,” Cnare said. “Especially with how radicalized things have become. I think it’s important to start getting people into the political sphere before they go out into the real world and to know what the issues are and how they’re affected by them.”

Junior State of America’s (JSA) first meeting will be held on Oct. 9 after school in room 1625 and will continue to be every fourth Wednesday of the month. 

Last year, JSA hosted voting drives and food drives for Hurricane Harvey victims as well as government employees during the shutdown. They registered over a 100 seniors to vote and fed over 400 government employees. JSA secretary Brooklynn Cnare and the rest of the officer team plan on continuing voter registration and food drives, but also have other ideas for the club. 

“We want to get posters up about current representatives so people know what’s going on in local government,” Cnare said. “We want to have open discussion meetings where we can start discussing issues that affect us locally as well as on a more national level so you can start hearing other opinions and other sides of things that you might not consider and start broadening your views. We also want to get volunteer opportunities with local officials so hopefully we can contribute some hours to NHS.”

The new officer team includes Cnare as well as junior Shrinidhi Thiruvengadam as president, senior Anjali Gladson as historian and junior Jacquelyn Burrer as vice president. Club sponsor Jeanette Rooks thinks the new team is going to be awesome.

“They’ve been handling things pretty independently,” Rooks said. “I have not been able to meet with them as much just because of mandates like lunch tutorials, but I think they are very self-motivated. They each have their own unique interests that they bring to [the team] that’s going to give us a nicer variety of stuff to focus on.”

Thiruvengadam said one of the new team’s biggest goals is to make JSA a bipartisan organization after having a left-leaning leadership last year. They’re going to have group discussions for everyone to share their opinions and possibly join forces with the philosophy club and the teen republicans club. 

“We have a lot planned in terms of finding common ground,” Thiruvengadam said. “I think that’s one of the things that we really struggled with last year. The officers last year had kind of one political partisan group that they felt they wanted to implore to the club, and that’s not really the direction we want the club to go.”

Last year, Thiruvengadam spearheaded an information campaign about the maternal mortality rate in Texas, which is one of the highest in the country. She hopes to continue using JSA to discuss issues like this that are close to home because she believes the local level of government is where the most change can occur. 

“We’re really trying to focus more on local politics and state-wide issues,” Thiruvengadam said. “One thing we were looking into was uninsured healthcare patients because right now, Texas is the leading state in the nation for the most uninsured people.”

Cnare said students interested in politics especially should come and share their knowledge, and the club is open to everyone. 

“Politics is something that affects all of us,” Cnare said. “Those people we elect and those people that are elected have an influence in your life, so I think anyone can come and join, see what it’s like and get a feel for what things are going to be like. It’s not often people have an environment to really talk and learn like this about political things in a bipartisan, friendly, non-heated environment.”