May 22, 2017 / We the People
The Center for Civic Education celebrated 30 years of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program with the 2017 We the People National Finals, held April 21–24 on Capitol Hill and at a new location: the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia.
Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies from Richmond, Virginia, placed first. Second place went to Grant High School in Portland, Oregon. Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, finished third. Douglas S. Freeman High School from Henrico, Virginia, received the Free Enterprise Award, sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute. A full list of all the competition’s award winners can be found on the Center’s National Finals awards page.
Each class participated in six unit groups based on the units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution textbook. Each unit deals with one aspect of American constitutionalism. A panel of expert judges ask students challenging questions about constitutional issues. Judges are volunteers who come from a range of professions, including public officials, attorneys, and university professors, among many others. After competition hearings, students had the chance to explore the nation’s capital, getting a tangible sense of the history and institutions they had been studying for months.
Following the first two days of competition, the top-ten schools competed in the final day of simulated congressional hearings, held in hearing rooms on Capitol Hill. The Honorable Patricio M. Serna, retired chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, delivered the keynote address at the awards ceremony.
Presentation of the National Finals awards was livestreamed on Facebook, allowing parents, classmates, and sponsors to watch the action unfold. You can view the archived video on the Center’s Facebook page.