San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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Lacye Odam, Milam Miller and Mariel Swinney were on-hand to honor Fred Markham for helping secure funding for the civics participation organization. BELOW: Last fall, members of the Junior State of America San Marcos chapter participated in an Austin convention that included a mock presidential caucus and presidential candidate quiz bowl.


For the last three years, Fred Markham followed the progress of the San Marcos High School’s Junior State of America chapter. Inspired by the students participating in the organization, he helped arrange a donation of $13,400 from the Texas Pioneer Foundation.

On February 5, 2008, the organization’s San Marcos chapter presented Markham with an appreciation gift, which will be used to cover the costs of the students attending three conventions a year and funding for special projects.

“The Texas Pioneer Foundation has once again proven that strong ties between our school and community are possible,” said Lacye Odam, the high school’s communication application teacher. “Students are the ultimate winners of this healthy relationship.”

Thirty-five student leaders from the chapter attended a Junior Stateof America convention in Austin in fall 2007, where they engaged in a variety of activities, including debates, student-led thought talks, and mock trials.

San Marcos students won recognition at the convention:

  • Milam Miller who conducted organized opening and closing sessions before nearly 400 JSA delegates from states across the South and Midwest.
  • David Fisher who was twice voted “Best Speaker” by his peers.
  • Irene Morse who spoke before 120 JSA delegates and won her first “Best Speaker Award” for her debate performance.
  • Mariel Swinney, president of SMHS JSA, who was noted for providing exceptional leadership to the delegates in SHMS chapter and for setting an excellent example for her peers to follow.

Student delegates also took part in a mock presidential caucus and a quiz bowl about presidential candidates.

“With the help of strong supporters such as Fred Markham and the Texas Pioneer Foundation, San Marcos students are taking on the challenge: finding their voices, finding their causes, and finding leadership roles in which they can take action,” Odam said.

— From the San Marcos school district

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