Alumni Effort Will Create First-Ever Directory
BY JEFF HARRIS:
Thanks to the efforts of JSA alum and trustee Paul Hrabal, we have launched the new JSA Alumni Association! The effort to reconnect JSA alumni from throughout the years and around the world is starting with a short alumni survey to capture the personal, career and academic milestones and highlights of our alumni. This will be published in the first ever JSA Alumni Directory that will let you catch up with old friends and perhaps even reach out to alumni in your career field or on your campus.
Update your information and join the JSA Alumni Association
Even though I’m still in touch with a bunch of friends from the early 1980s (my days in JSA), I’m excited to see the Alumni Directory and reconnect with many more with whom I’ve lost touch. Additionally, I predict that the directory will be full of some very influential and powerful players in politics, law, journalism, medicine, technology and many other fields. Leadership and organizational skills honed by time in JSA have positioned us well for success in our chosen careers. It is not surprising that JSA alumni have risen to the top of their professions and many with an entrepreneurial spirit have started successful ventures of their own. There may even be people in your current network that are fellow JSA alumni that you never knew about!
Fill out the alumni survey to share updates in the “class notes” section of the and join the JSA Alumni Association to get your free copy of the first JSA Alumni Directory. In the first several days, nearly 1,000 alumni from all eras and JSA states have responded. Click on the link above to make sure that you are included.
We are also holding some alumni reconnect events in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. On March 24, at Fino in downtown Austin, and March 31, at SEI in D.C., we’ll have a couple of casual happy-hour events to start to form the core of regional JSA Alumni chapters. Stay tuned for more reconnect events in California, New York and in other parts of the country.
JSA is making news in Illinois: The student leaders of the Midwest JSA State invited former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to speak at their Spring State convention. Although he’s been keeping a low profile, he agreed to come speak to JSA students and answer their questions! The State-Journal Register in Springfield ran an editorial that suggested that high school students are “impressionable, idealistic and, consequently, highly vulnerable to the slickly packaged hucksterism in Rod Blagojevich’s DNA.”
Clearly, they haven’t met JSA members. One member took the paper to task for underestimating students in her own op-ed piece that “knocked [the newspaper] squarely off their editorial high horse.” Follow the back and forth:
“Our Opinion: Blagojevich an ‘ideal’ speaker for students?!” The State Journal-Register, March 3, 2011.
“In My View: Students not likely to be fooled by Blagojevich,” By Farah Tamizuddin, The State Journal-Register, March 12, 2011.
“Our Opinion: A lesson in politics, Illinois-style,” The State Journal-Register, March 16, 2011.
Winter Congresses: Much Debate, Many Speakers
DEBATING BILLS ranging from placing electric-shock collars on sex offenders to the reformation of the government’s anti-drug policy, hundreds of JSA students from across the country in February and earlier this month participated in regional Winter Congress events, designed to give high school students legislative experience.
In true JSA tradition, the 2011 iteration of Winter Congress included bill topics that were serious (such as methods for reducing the federal debt, alternative ways to fund education and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act) while others weren’t so much (the sex-offender collars were debated by the Northeast State Congress, while in Southern California and Arizona, they debated a bill to legalize public nudity).
Until recently, Winter Congress was focused on students from all over the country visiting the Washington, D.C., area, but the JSA Council of Governors decided a few years back to decentralize the process. Northern California hosted its first Winter Congress Feb. 5-6, with more than 600 students and teachers taking over the State Capitol building in Sacramento, using the assembly and senate meeting rooms for their debates.
Some states cooperate, holding their congresses together: Southern California and Arizona met together Feb. 19-20 at the Long Beach Westin. The keynote speaker was Robert Garcia, a city councilman from Long Beach, who extolled the virtues of nonpartisanship.
Southern California JSA had 520 attend, with 48 chapters represented, supported by 63 teacher/advisors, while 120 students came in from Arizona, advised by 20 teachers.
Part of the draw to Winter Congress for Arizona students, apparently, is an opportunity to visit the Pacific Ocean, which many have never seen. Unfortunately for those this year, they had to trudge a few blocks through storm and cold to reach the beach.
A highlight of this event included two panels of JSA alumni who spoke to the students about advocacy; they included Vince Farhat, Jon Fleischman, Ted Green, James Lee, Larry Levine, Debra Jasgur Mendelsohn and Mike Spence.
Northeast JSA held its Winter Congress Feb. 11-13 at the Doubletree Crystal City in Arlington, Va., across the Potomac from Washington, while the Midwest, Southeast and Ohio River Valley states held a combined Congress Feb. 18-20 at the same venue.
The highlight of the latter event was a keynote speech by U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, “As the treasurer of the United States, Rios was able to provide a very knowledgeable perspective on some of the biggest issues facing the nation today,” said Stanley Yuan, Midwest communications director and a student at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a public school in Aurora, Ill. “Everyone appreciated her unique position and willingness to come speak to a group of high schoolers.”
The Northeast State Winter Congress drew 780 students with about 90 teachers and chaperones.
In JSA’s Pacific Northwest State there is apparently a resurgence of Oregonians, helped in no small part by Winter Congress being held in Portland, at the Doubletree Lloyd Center. Seventeen chapters from throughout the region were represented by 355 delegates — a record for a PNW Winter Congress — who were supported by 33 teacher/advisors.
The main speaker was Todd Diskin, the youth strategies coordinator for Portland’s mayor. The group Diskin oversees is made up of high school and college students who form committees that consult with the mayor about the impact of policies (and often lobby to change them).
Reports from the Portland meeting indicate that for the first time in recent memory, an Oregon high school student is running for PNW’s governorship for the 2011-2012 school year. Since 2009, Oregon has grown from one JSA chapter to five and from 40 tax-paid members to almost 200.
New Chief Fundraiser Hired for JSA
A BAY AREA MAN has been named the chief development officer of JSA, bringing together a lifetime career in nonprofit organizations along with life-long interests in youth groups, politics and civic education.
Mitch Reitman joined the foundation as chief development officer on March 14. He replaces Matt Randazzo, who left the foundation staff at the end of last year to become chief growth officer at IDEA Public Schools in Austin, Texas.
Most recently, Reitman had been development director at the Alameda County Health Care Foundation of Oakland and from 2006-2008, he held the same title at the San Jose branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“My interest in youth development, politics and my experience as a nonprofit development officer came together in a ‘perfect storm’ for this job,” Reitman said.
Reitman was born in San Francisco and raised in Daly City, Pacifica and Foster City. He attended San Diego State University to earn his bachelor’s degree in political science and took master’s degrees in social work and community organization at the University of Maryland and in Jewish Studies at Baltimore Hebrew University.
“In both high school and college I loved being involved in extra-curricular activities,” said Reitman. He called them “a very important part in developing my interests” as an adult.
Reitman said he believes that “critical thinking, persuasive speaking and being an informed and involved member of society” are crucial — all ideals of JSA.
After taking his graduate degrees in 1984, Reitman entered the nonprofit world as a division director at the Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and later moved back to the Bay Area, to spend time with the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, Temple Beth Jacob in Redwood City and The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism of San Mateo, in ever-increasing roles of authority, including executive director.
In 2000, he was named executive director of Peninsula Temple Sholom of Burlingame and in 2003 he joined the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Clubs of San Mateo as development director.
Reitman said the JSA office in San Mateo is “a very comfortable place to work and I am proud to sell its mission and purpose.”
Alumni Profile: Candace Le’i
• JSA leadership roles
After I attended JSA at Yale 1992 (between freshman and sophomore years), I returned home and started a JSA chapter at my high school, Fa’asao. From that summer through my senior year, I served as the chapter president. I also returned to Yale Summer School in 1993, to attend the first Constitutional Law course being offered by JSA. That class planted the seed for my decision to attend law school and become a lawyer. I was also a JSA Summer School counselor at Stanford while I was in college in 1996.
• Education, jobs, residences, family
I was born & raised in Pago Pago, American Samoa. I attended Matafao Elementary School, Fa’asao High School (valedictorian of class of 1995), and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where I graduated summa cum laude. After that, I worked for one year as an Americorps member at the Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i. I then returned home to American Samoa and served as a court reporter for the local newspaper, Samoa News, for about six months before coming to D.C. to work as an intern for our congressman, Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, for two months, before starting law school at George Washington University Law. After graduating from GWU Law in 2003, I was accepted into the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor’s year-long Honors Program. Upon graduating, I worked as an attorney for the General Law Division for about six months. I then transitioned to the Department of Defense, Office of Hearings and Appeals, in early 2005 and have worked for both the California field office (from 2005-2008) and now for the headquarters in D.C., where I practice in the area of security clearance litigation. I got married in the Fall of 2009 to Rogelio Garcia, and we just recently celebrated our one-year anniversary.
I love to work out. I’m currently training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April and the D.C. Sprint Triathlon in June. I also love to do yoga and enjoy reading, playing tennis, traveling, listening to music and cooking (I constantly have the Food Network channel on). I of course love spending time with my husband and our five-year-old pug, Sika.
• Last book read
“Freedom,” by Jonathan Franze; currently reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larsson.
• Last accomplishment
My husband will tell you that my last accomplishment was marrying him (grin) and I do consider that a major accomplishment. Career wise: I was rewarded for my hard work and service by receiving a promotion at my job last year.
• Why I do what I do
I have always been one for public service and working as a federal government attorney and particularly for the Defense Department allows me to stay within the public service realm. It also enables me to make a good living while being able to pursue things I want to do outside of my career. I have been on the career track, if you will, since elementary school, and now I’m finally at a point in my life where I feel I can shift my attention to other lifestyle pursuits, including having a family. Working as a federal government attorney allows me to pursue my career as a lawyer while still being able to have a life outside of work.
• What I learned in JSA that I still use today
All the skills I use today come from the foundation that was, in large part, because of JSA: critical thinking, analysis and writing, public speaking, keeping an open mind and acceptance of other people and their opinions, ideas, etc., staying tuned with what’s going on at home (locally), across the United States (national) and across the world (international).
BY KAREN PROSSER:
In memoriam: Lester Mazor, JSA governor in 1953-1954, died earlier this month, in Berlin, Germany. Mazor was a professor emeritus at Hampshire College, a private liberal arts school in Western Massachusetts and had lived full-time in Berlin since retiring in 2007.
Mazor and his brother Stan — who became a JSA governor in 1958-1959 — grew up in Oakland, Calif., and were JSA members at Oakland High. Les Mazor graduated from Stanford University with a degree in history in 1957 and a took a JD from its law school in 1960. He was an editor of the Stanford Law Review and also played in the Stanford marching band.
Les Mazor served as law clerk to Warren E. Burger, later chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and became the youngest law professor in the nation at the University of Utah, where he taught from 1962-1970, following which he was named the Henry R. Luce Professor of Law at Hampshire College in Amherst. Les was a permanent visiting professor at Anhui University in Hefei, China, and a visiting professor at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, teaching constitutional law.
According to the Hampshire Gazette, in addition to teaching undergraduate law courses, Les "greatly enjoyed teaching extracurricular cooking classes and playing basketball with students, which he did for almost 30 years."
Les and Stan Mazor were the first set of brothers who both served as JSA governors. Only three other sets of brothers have served as JSA governors — Daniel and Toby Frankenstein of Northern California, Kai and Shing Tao of the MidAtlantic Junior State and Ravi and Nikil Mulani of the Midwest JSA. As Richard Prosser said upon seeing this list, "Where are the sisters?"
Since Les and Stan were the first JSA governor brothers, I took this opportunity to ask Stan some questions:
How did you and your brother first get involved in JSA?
“Our father, Bert Mazor, was interested in politics, and we did some local precinct work near our home. My brother was five years older than me, and he attended the JSA Summer School run by Prof. Rogers. He was deeply affected by Prof and was active in the local chapter and region. Accordingly, I was motivated to also attend JSA Summer School (1956), which — when I went — was still at Montezuma Mountain School for Boys, but Prof was no longer involved. I was active in the local chapter, as well as a student body officer at Oakland High.”
What is your favorite JSA memory involving Les? What is your own favorite JSA memory?
“When Les was 17, I was just 12, so we weren’t involved together, but he talked about a demonstration performed by Prof that seemed “super natural” to a youth, but really is rationally explained. I have to admit the governor’s ball, becoming a registered state lobbyist and meeting former President Harry Truman were some of the highlights of my student government and JSA experiences.”
What were the highlights of each of your careers?
“Les loved teaching, and was a very effective teacher. I never could understand his personal interests in law, as he was more interested in history and politics. He never bothered to take the bar exam, and seemed to frown on many of the legal practices. In my case, working at Intel on the first microcomputer was the outstanding event (not to be forgotten), and more recently recognition by the President’s National technology and Innovation award, in D.C.”
How did JSA impact each of your lives?
“For me, the lessons in giving speeches at JSA led to a career revolving around presentations, and public speaking. For Les I’d assume it was more about debate, logic and argument.”
What was the best thing about being Les Mazor’s younger brother? What was the worst thing about it?
“Les lent me some of his college novels, and at age 12-14, opened my eyes and my thinking. Also he had a very complete collection of world maps on his walls, which started my interest in geography. Les was a brilliant and successful student in all of his academic pursuits, and I was a very average student. So it was difficult to ‘compete’ academically.”
What should we know about Les Mazor that we don’t know?
“Les was a gourmand and gourmet cook. He loved classical music. He was a fine dancer. He loved to play basketball, even though he was ‘height impaired’ — about 5-foot-6. He was an outstanding writer. He was a great teacher.”
All in the (JSA) family: Children and grandchildren of JSA alumni are following in their footsteps. For example, a recent email from Jeff Katzman:
“I’m hoping that you remember me. It has been a very long time! I attended summer school at U.C. Davis in 1979. I went to Pacific Palisades High School, with Jay Berinstein and Ted Green among others, and ran for lieutenant governor back in the days with Mike Graveley and Ramona Nicholson.
“I was so awe struck to rediscover JSA and to see what unbelievable directions the organization has taken. If you can believe it, I ran into the web site after explaining to my kids for years what a wonderful program this was for me. So this year, my daughter Jackie is attending JSA Summer School. It’s really sort of incredible to me how time marches on, and I wonder how many other alumni children live in the halls of the JSA summer programs?
“After high school, I went on to Stanford, got very involved in international medicine and went to Sierra Leone and Nepal. From there I attended medical school at U.C. San Diego, and did psychiatry residency at UCLA. I was on faculty at UCLA before moving to Albuquerque.
“I’m a psychiatrist now at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where I run the educational programs for all of our trainees. My official position is the vice chair for education for the department of psychiatry. Prior to that, I ran behavioral health at the New Mexico Veterans Administration; having moved here with my family from Los Angeles in 1997.”
And more JSA families: Recently I spoke with JSA Foundation Director Dan Germain (JSA Governor 1982-1983, SS U.C. Davis 1980, SS Washington, D.C. 1981). Dan is married to the Bonnie Goldberg (SS U.C. Davis 1980) and they have two daughters, Kayla and Michelle Germain (SS Stanford 2007). Dan’s brother, Marc, (SS U.C. Davis 1983) has a daughter, Nicole. This summer, cousins Kayla Germain and Nicole Germain are attending the JSA Georgetown Summer School, where Michelle is going to be a resident advisor. Now that’s alumni children in action! Family patriarch, Don Germain, attended the 1943 Junior Statesmen Summer School at the Montezuma Mountain School.
Update from Saipan: For 20 years, we have recruited outstanding students in U.S. Territories for JSA Summer School, in part with funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior. An alum from the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Laura Bucher Kyonka (SS Georgetown 2003), emailed me recently with an update:
• JSA roommate: Stormie Faust (who has been studying for her master’s degree in Scotland).
• Graduated high school: Salutatorian 2005, Kagman High School, Saipan, CNMI.
• Graduated University: Summa cum laude 2009, Southern Nazarene University in Speech Communication.
• Married: Josiah Kyonka of St. Louis, Mo., in June 2009.
• Kids: None.
• Job: Kagman High School counselor for class of 2013 and JSA Saipan coordinator
• Further education plans: Master’s in marriage & family therapy and Asian studies (I hope in the next few years).
Do you have updates for ‘Karen’s Corner’? Send them to .
March 24, 2011
JSA Alumni Reconnection
Social Hour, Fino
March 25-27, 2011
Texas Spring State
March 26, 2011
Gloucester High School
March 31, 2011
JSA Alumni Reconnection
Social Hour, SEI
April 2-3, 2011
Midwest Spring State
Oak Brook, Ill.
April 2-3, 2011
Northeast Spring State
April 2, 2011
Pittsburgh JSA Mega-Con
Taylor Allderdice High School
April 2, 2011
Ohio River Valley
Ohio State University
April 2, 2011
Villa Victoria Mega-Con
Vlilla Victoria Academy
April 8-10, 2011
April 9-10, 2011
Pacific Northwest Spring State
April 9-10, 2011
Arizona Spring State
April 9, 2011
Manalapan High School
April 9, 2011
Woodlands College Park
High School Mini-Con
The Woodlands, Texas
April 15-17, 2011
April 16-17, 2011
April 16-17, 2011
Annually, thousands of JSA alumni and friends donate their time, talent and treasure to support the program. Please contact Chief Executive Jeff Harris, if you wish to volunteer, reconnect with the program, or make a gift to JSA.
or (800) 334-5353.