373 delegates from around Washington, Oregon, and Idaho gathered at the Bellevue Hyatt from November 11-12 in order to debate, discuss, advocate, and mingle. The delegates were part of the Junior State of America, the largest student-run organization in the country, The Junior State works to fight political apathy through discussion. The Fall State convention is the first of their three large conventions held over the course of the year.
Issaquah and Skyline would bring the first and second most delegates, Issaquah with 43 and Skyline with 37.
The key note speaker at the convention was Ben Minicucci the COO of Alaska Airlines. Among the things he spook about some of his points were about leadership in a difficult economy, perseverance, adaptability, and the elements of leadership.
Regarding the debates there were 36 astounding debates filled with good speakers. The debates ranged from topics such as resolved, teachers may be allowed to carry firearms to Resolved, that hyper-partisanship in Congress resulted in the downgrade of US credit rate to resolved that the “Bro” lifestyle is detrimental to society. Issaquah would take home the most gavels with 10 and Skyline would take home the second ,most amount of gavels with 7. The top 5 gavel winners at the convention were: Iman Baghai, Issaquah (5); Rohan Wagahani, Interlake (3); Zachary Lim, Skyline (3); Travis Fox, Skyline (2); and Karthik Palanoppan, Issaquah (2). A combination of great debaters and fascinating topics kept the delegates engaged through all 7 blocks of debates and the keynote debate: Resolved, that the country is more important than the individual which passed.
Besides debates delegates started signing a petition in an attempt to try to get leaders to listen to the youth voice and battle disturbingly low civic knowledge levels. Additionally, students made a presentation regarding “Falling Whistles” an organization that brings awareness to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo were children as young as five are forced to charge at the enemy with nothing but a whistle till they are killed. Falling Whistles is an international peace advocacy organization trying to spread awareness about the war and facilitate a coalition for peace.
The debaters left the convention excited for the year and what awaits them at their local chapters with hopefully more local events to be planned. The next major convention will be in Portland in February 4-5.