By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei
Verbum Dei High School’s own Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) chapter will meet for the first time as a chartered club Wednesday, January 30 at lunch in Room 101. The student run organization seeks to develop citizens “who are the people that the United States Constitution describes: people who are educated and knowledgeable about current issues and are therefore prepared to shape government,” said senior Jared Rhaburn, the enthusiastic spokesperson for the fledgling organization. Rhaburn’s various school wide announcements have promoted the club for students who are interested in careers in politics, law, advocacy, public policy, and public administration.
The organization, co-moderated by American history teacher Mr. Jovel and Ms. Bernal, will chart its course for this first year beginning with the first meeting. Plans include awareness-raising, discussion groups, film nights that feature discussion and screening of issue-related feature films, and participation in JSA conferences and events in the Los Angeles region.
“I learned about it [Junior Statesmen of America] through a scholarship that was awarded to myself and to other Verb students,” said Rhaburn. This opportunity led Rhaburn to apply and to be accepted in the JSA Summer Program at Georgetown University in our Nation’s capital. The summer program was a formative experience, said Rhaburn. He raised funds for his program expenses through a letter writing campaign and through presentations to churches, civic organizations, and other groups. Rhaburn earned high school credit for courses at the summer program.
“Unofficially created when the scholarships were awarded, the organization was revived to be a viable club and to be a chapter of the JSA,” said Rhaburn. The Junior Statesmen, said Rhaburn, is international in scope, as there are chapters in such far-flung places as China and Uzbekistan.
Weekly meetings will continue on Wednesdays at lunch in Room 101.