Once-timid student uses JSA to find voice

Noah Rozek, Profiles Editor

Senior Esha Singh, Vice president of Naperville Central High School’s Junior State of America chapter, participates in mock congressional debates, but the change she strives for is very real.

The opportunity JSA presented for Singh to understand governmental processes and improve how she handles other viewpoints was not one she was going to pass up, and so she joined in her sophomore year.

Singh’s childhood friend and President of JSA Imaan Niazi joined just the year before, and she witnessed Esha pick up her role quickly. Eventually she transitioned into her current role of Vice President.

“Having a good friend helping me run meetings and [coordinate] activities is quite cool,” Niazi said. 

During the Winter Congress in Schaumburg, Singh was arguing for the reinstatement of the Violence Against Women Act. 

“We were faced with a few difficulties and some specific bigotry towards LGBTQ+ communities with the opposing speech,” Singh said. “So we had to try to find a way to work that out without being disrespectful to that person.”

The purpose of JSA includes approaching these topics with objectivity, and the Winter Congress was helpful for Singh to understand why Congress takes so long to make progress.

“It just gives you a better understanding [of] what’s going on in a smaller scope and you can apply that to a bigger scope,” Singh said.

Singh didn’t just learn how to respectfully argue about her political opinions, she also learned to have confidence in them.

“I would say before I was a lot more reserved in my opinions and I would be almost timid or scared to tell people what i think,” Singh said. “I feel like I am more able to voice my own opinions and have productive discussions with other people, as long as the other people are willing to communicate in a positive way.”

Singh succeeded in JSA with her well researched speeches, but also through her more personable traits Niazi said.

“She’s very good at bringing other people in,” Niazi said. “She’s also just good at making [JSA] a really welcoming environment for other people.”

Before joining JSA Singh was already passionate about the local political climate. During her sophomore year as the  2020 U.S. election was ongoing, the ability to look at political candidates objectively was something she wanted to learn.

“I think JSA has the power to amplify your belief,” Iman said.

Singh was able to vote in local elections last month, putting the research and political discussions she had into action at last.