Aaron Mills, a freshman at TMI Episcopal, has been accepted to the JSA summer program for high-school students at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where he will study AP (Advanced Placement) Comparative Government.
The program is one of three sponsored on college campuses – at Georgetown, Princeton and Stanford universities – by the Junior State of America (JSA) Foundation. The three-week Georgetown summer program combines the study of government with a high-level speakers program and nightly student debates. Admission to the summer programs is competitive; JSA accepts about one-third of more than 2,000 applications received each year. The Georgetown program is one of the most challenging and competitive, accepting 30-35 students yearly, usually rising juniors and seniors.
Mills, 15, heard about the JSA summer programs through a friend who attended the organization’s Texas state convention last year. Although the organization typically steers freshman applicants to the other programs, where the focus is primarily on academics, “The Georgetown program sounded perfect for me, because that’s where I want to go to college and eventually study at the School of Foreign Service,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to get some experience of what It’s like to be a college student and to talk with professors in the field that interests me.”
A component of the program that begins before classes start is a fund-raising requirement. Regardless of need, all students in JSA summer programs are asked to raise a portion of their tuition, “to teach us independence and show our commitment to the program,” said Mills. Accordingly, he’s planning fundraisers and has set up a personal page linked to the JSA website, https://fundraise.jsa.org/fundraiser/1385738
At TMI, Mills is a member of the Freshman Scholastic Society and Latin Club and participates in Model United Nations. He also is a member of Boy Scout Troop 157 at Windcrest United Methodist Church, where he is a Star Scout and holds the office of troop scribe, responsible for keeping troop records.
Junior State, founded in 1934 and headquartered in Burlingame, Calif., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to strengthening American democracy by educating and preparing high-school students for lifelong involvement and leadership in a democratic society. Summer programs combine college-level academics with the development of skills in negotiation, debate and communications. For more information about JSA programs, visit www.jsa.org.