Placing fifth at state competition is something to celebrate! That’s why Plainfield Optimist Club reached out to Mr. Chris Cavanaugh, sponsor of Plainfield High School’s We The People team, in late December looking for a way to honor students for their achievement.
The student government group was one of twelve Indiana high schools competing in the state finals held December 14-16 in Indianapolis. Students responded to questions about the U.S. Constitution before a panel of judges including lawyers, professors and members of the judiciary.
The group excelled, taking 5th place in the competition.
Only the top finishing high school advances to compete against teams from all 50 states at the We The People National Finals in Washington, D.C. Last year’s PHS team advanced and competed at the 2013 national competition, finishing 10th in the nation.
According to the Indiana Bar Foundation website, We The People is an educational model that teaches students in fifth, eighth and twelfth grades about the U.S. Constitution. After a semester of study about American history and constitutional philosophy, as well as current events and applicable court cases, students testify in mock congressional hearings before panels of volunteer judges who are lawyers, judges, professors and civic leaders. Teams mastering their subjects compete in competitions throughout Indiana’s nine congressional districts and finally at one state competition with representative teams from those districts. The civic education model is one of the most effective for creating model citizens who vote at higher rates than their peers. For research or more on the program, visit www.inbf.org/.
According to research by the Center on Civic Education, alumni of the We The People program vote at higher rates and participate in volunteer activity more frequently. The research appears to suggest the earlier students receive this education, the more engaged they are in voting and the community.
(Submitted press release.)
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