MAST Academy senior Brian Carlos is the governor of the five state Southeast Region of the Junior State of America Foundation, a debate organization.
“The Junior State of America debates are all student run,” he says.
The governors organize the state conventions known as Fall State and Spring State. The Southeast Governor works with the Northeast Region to plan the Winter Congress in Washington, D.C.
As Southeast Governor, Carlos had to pick a cabinet of about 30 students. He sorted through applications with the Southeast Region Lieutenant Governor.
He also meets periodically with the governors of the other nine regions to talk about the organization and its mission and goals.
“What I’m trying to do this year is work on expanding or getting more kids to attend conventions by pushing fundraising,” he says. “Every region, fundraises for scholarships funds.”
Helping others attend the conventions has been a top issue for him. Last year he was given the Community Impact Award for his fundraising.
Carlos is also president of the Junior State club at MAST and president of the Model United Nations Club. He’s won the best delegate award at a Model UN Conference at Miami-Dade College.
At school, Carlos has worked to make sure that students are registered to vote. Before the 2018 mid-terms he conducted a voter registration drive at school.
“We set up a booth and we had all the seniors and all of those who are 15-16 register to vote,” he says. “My AP teacher helped me do it. We did it for a week.”
The voter registration drive was conducted in conjunction with Fight Apathy Week at MAST, a week dedicated to encourage students to care about the issues.
“Whether it was health care, gun control and climate change,” he says. “We asked them if they were registered to vote and if they weren’t, we asked them to register.”
This school year, he hopes to repeat what they did last year.
“And I’m trying to get the administration to approve a field trip for the seniors to go to the polls for the primaries in Florida,” he says. “Last year, the U.S. government teacher took a group of kids to vote.”
In 2018, Carlos volunteered for Democratic Congressional candidate Matt Haggman and this year he’s volunteering for the Biden Presidential campaign.
“As of now, I’m being trained as an organizer in the platform the campaign using,” he says.
I will be sent out to organizing phone banks and canvassing.”
He canvassed for the Haggman campaign as well. He also worked on fundraising.
“One of my main goals in the future is to get more involved in the political sphere and hopefully run for office one day,” he says.
His issues include gun control and climate change.
“One of the big issues I’ve been passionate about is campaign finance reform,” he says.
“Getting money out of campaigns is a big issue for me.”
Carlos participates in an after-school tutoring program where upper classmen tutor under classmen and MAST middle school students.
He’s also a member of the National Honor Society and Rho Kappa, the Social Studies honor society. He’s the recipient of the Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglas Award given at MAST.
This fall he plans to apply for either early decision or early action at either Cornell or Yale.
If he decides to stay in state, he will apply to Florida State University or the University of Florida.
“I want to do a double major in political science and economics,” Carlos says.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld