More than a thousand We the People students traveled to Washington, D.C., for the We the People national competitions this April and May, impressing panels of judges with knowledge of the Constitution and its application.
Denver East High School captured the national championship at the National Finals. Second place went to Amador Valley High School of Pleasanton, California, and third place was awarded to Grant High School of Portland, Oregon. You can find the complete National Finals results on the National Finals results page.
The winner of the National Invitational was Miami Lakes High School from Hialeah, Florida. Fishers Junior High School of Fishers, Indiana, came in second, and Rachel Carson Middle School of Herndon, Virginia, placed third. The complete results for the National Invitational can be found on the National Invitational results page.
High school students participated in the National Finals from April 26 to April 29, and middle school students competed in the National Invitational from May 3 to May 6. These competitions are annual culminations of the We the People program, in which students learn about American democracy, history, and founding documents. In front of panels of esteemed judges, made up of accomplished scholars, attorneys, and public officials, among others, students answered challenging questions about constitutional issues, American history, and current events.
Classes studied the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution textbook before ultimately being organized into teams around each unit and its concept. Each unit of the book deals with one aspect of American constitutionalism. Teams expressed their opinions and arguments on topics ranging from freedom of speech in schools, political polarization, and civil discourse.
When classes were not competing, they traveled around Washington, D.C., to explore the history and monuments that they spent all year studying. Taylor Garcia from Hamilton High School in Arizona said, “Everything we are seeing has so much more meaning and purpose to it. We were sitting in the Supreme Court and we could not believe that all these cases basically just came to life for us.”
At this year’s National Finals, guest speaker John Tinker of the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines spoke to the civic knowledge of students at the National Finals. “Meeting so many of you, it’s given me a great deal of confidence that we can be optimistic that there might be solutions out there, and that you all are going to help to find them.”
The National Finals recognized the top ten teams, unit winners, regional winners, and a special unit five award sponsored by the John F. Tinker Foundation. The announcement of the awards, as well as John Tinker’s speech can be found at the livestream of the event.
The National Invitational recognized the top three teams, as well as unit awards and honorable mentions. The livestream of the National Invitational can also be found at the Facebook page.
Pictures of the event can be found at the Center for Civic Education Flickr page.