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Chapter of the Year- OHS JSA

Dylan Spedaliere, Student Life editor

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This past year, Ossining High School’s very own Junior State of America (JSA) chapter has taken the northeast states by storm. This powerhouse of a chapter has accumulated numerous accolades over the course of the 2017-2018 school year such as the multiple individual best speaker awards. Also upon receiving the award titled “Chapter of the Year”, OHS JSA is now recognized as this years most outgoing chapter with involvement in their community, conventions, and upholding the values of JSA. During an interview with Alexa “Lexi” Rudley, she said that “The Ernest Andrew Rogers Chapter of the Year Award is given to one chapter in every JSA state that reflects JSA values such as leadership, activism, community outreach, and debate. The Ossining chapter is a part of the Northeast State (NES), which is comprised of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Both NES Lieutenant Governor Sarah Hoffman and I presented our powerpoint on our chapter’s exemplary nature and why we should receive this award to Teacher Advisors and the Program Director of the Northeast State”. This chapter’s success had been no small feat as it required an immense amount of dedication and natural love for the club. Fearlessly led by Lexi Rudley, the President of OHS JSA along with her fellow board members (Aliya Bashir: Vice President, Nina Foster: Director of Debate, Caroline Reed: Director of Activism, Tejas Sha: Treasurer, and Alex Hoffman: Secretary), the club has had an enormous impact on the Ossining community with local projects and fundraisers. Open Mic Nights at First Village Coffee and the JSA Music Festival are two projects that OHS JSA has started this past year and plan to continue throughout the years. This chapter has a genuine love for the nature of debate and the community that live in and are certain to excel to new heights with the coming years. The following words came from Lexi herself as a final farewell to OHS’s JSA:

Ossining High School JSA has been my home for the past 4 years of high school. Freshman year, I was always pushed to the side as an immature, enthusiastic freshman with sub-par debate skills and later that year lost in the race for Chapter Treasurer. My sophomore year, being a regular chapter member, I was able to help out with the nitty, gritty duties of the club and picked up where board members left off. At Spring State 2016, we won Chapter of the Year thanks to the unlimited, persistent hard work of our chapter board including CP Michael Earle and VP Ben Feinstein. That was probably the year I learned the most about JSA and all it had to offer. During the 2016 election cycle, I was able to take on the role of Vice President under the amazing, intelligent Ruth Boehling who constantly inspires me to do my best, in JSA and just as a friend. In August 2016, I would undertake my job as NES Director of Activities for my first year on cabinet. Cabinet members are appointed by larger, elected officials who campaign and win their positions at Spring State, the final convention of the previous year. As Director of Activities, I was given the opportunity to plan the nighttime activity block at overnight conventions, so for example the infamous dance or Mariokart. That next year, between planning activities and supporting my chapter’s board, I thought I’d might as well take the opportunity to run for an elected official position while I still had the chance. Even though I ended up not winning the Empire Constitutional Region (a smaller region of the larger Northeast state) Vice Mayorship, the person who undertook the job made the ECR truly flourish and became one of my closest friends in JSA, Patrick Burland from Amity Regional High School’s chapter. In June of 2017, I was elected to become Ossining’s Chapter President after a very messy election season. Which taught me that if you really want something, all you have to do is put in the time, effort, and show others just how much you want it and you shall receive. Later that Summer, I began my second year as the NES Director of Activities. I also ended up attending the JSA Georgetown Summer School, which is an extremely fun program that the Junior State puts on every year. Students are able to take college classes (I took International Relations), attend debate workshops, listen to speakers (like Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Rod Rosenstein), and of course explore all DC has to offer! With a wonderful board by my side, I set out to prove everyone who said I couldn’t succeed in such a position wrong. We put on JSAFest, started a chapter scholarship fund, and created activism debates. Through our scholarship fund, we were able to provide scholarships for almost every convention to ensure, regardless of economic status, everyone that wanted to attend overnight conventions could. I very clearly remember how it went when Ossining won Chapter of the Year: Prior to gaveling out my last JSA convention and Spring State, it came time to announce which chapter won COTY. Sitting there in the arms of my chapter members, board members, but above all friends, I realized I was never in this game for self-improvement, I was in it for everyone else. I didn’t want the award to make myself happy, I wanted to see everyone proud to come from our very special chapter. Lo and behold, we won Chapter of the Year. Personally, this is something I am proud to call my biggest achievement. Running up to the stage to receive the award, I couldn’t help but be reminded of everyone that ever said it wasn’t possible and know I proved them wrong. But truly, what this entire experience has taught me is that you can’t do everything alone and you must ask for help along the way. Every single one of my fellow chapter members this year has given me an unlimited amount of support and love. Can’t wait to see what the 2018-19 Chapter President, Dylan Spedaliere will do to continue the exponential progress of the Ossining JSA Chapter.”

-Lexi Rudley

Lexi has been a member of JSA throughout her years in high school and quickly rose up in the ranks of the clubs and even had a presence on the state level where she was given the title of “Director of Activities” for the northeast JSA. She has timelessly served as a role model for the clubs’ members and will forever be remembered as one of the great alumnis of JSA. After interviewing Lexi, it is clear that she will go on to big things in the future and as she graduates, she leaves the title of President to her successor Dylan Spedaliere, a rising junior.

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Chapter of the Year- OHS JSA