Instructions for Media Print
media
The 26th Anniversary We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals hearings take place on Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and on Monday, April 29, in congressional hearing rooms on Capitol Hill.


Aproximately 1,300 high school students from across the country take part in the academic competition, which tests students’ knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The competition takes the form of simulated congressional hearings, where students serve as “experts” on one of the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution text.

Classes have been assigned to the same hearing room for the first two days of the competition. Panels of judges have been assigned to each of the six major divisions of the curriculum. They will rotate through the rooms, enabling each of the six teams in a class to be heard by a panel of judges specializing in that area of study.

On Saturday and Sunday, the 56 classes are divided into four, 14-class divisions. Each division competes in a two-hour session on both days. During a two-hour session, each unit team will be allocated 20 minutes: 10 minutes for presentations to the judges (4 minutes of prepared statements and 6 minutes of responses to questions) and 10 minutes for judges’ remarks and the changing of panels of judges. Students who are not making presentations will observe their peers during the hearings.

On Monday, April 29, the ten highest-scoring classes from the first two days of hearings move on to the championship round. Five teams will compete in the morning and five in the afternoon, following the same procedures as those noted above. However, the time for the student responses to follow-up questions will be extended from 6 minutes to 11 minutes.

Top Ten Finalists will be posted online after 10 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 28.

In order to ensure fair procedures for all classes, the press is asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Sign in at the registration desk upon arrival each day.
  2. Since the hearing rooms are small, members of the press and visitors may be asked by staff to take turns observing the hearings.
  3. Movement by observers in and out of the rooms will only be allowed between team presentations. Once a hearing has commenced, all press and observers must remain in the room until the judges have concluded their questioning and dismissed the students.
  4. If members of the press wish to interview students, they must ask the teacher's permission in advance. The teacher may also be helpful in identifying students to interview.
  5. To avoid distraction, interviews with students should take place only after they have completed their presentations.
  6. Photographs of the students may be taken during their presentations only with the prior permission of their teacher.
  7. With the permission of the teacher, video cameras may record the presentations and related activities. Only battery-operated cameras may be used and no auxiliary lighting may be used. Camera crews may not enter or leave a room during a presentation. Crews should do their best to avoid distracting the students during their presentations.

The students have worked extremely hard to qualify for the National Finals, and they and their teachers have put in many long hours of study to prepare for these hearings. They will undoubtedly be nervous, tense, and excited. Their most important objective will be to do a good job testifying before the judges. We appreciate your taking these factors into consideration in covering the event and in helping us make the competition a valuable experience for them.

We thank you for your attendance at the We the People National Finals. Please contact Robert Leming at leming@civiced.org or 805.890.4059 for any assistance you may need.