Jan 14, 2007
Congratulations to the students who participated in the State Finals of the We the People competition
In the Republican-dominated wilderness known as Howell in Livingston County, there are some very intelligent and motivated teens trying to overcome the image that we embrace the Klan, burn books and hate gays.
Howell High School students from teacher Mark Oglesby's senior government class took third place in the State Finals of the We the People competition at the Lansing Center on Friday.
Students are divided into teams of three to six students, and the teams demonstrate their knowledge of various areas of the U.S. Constitution before three judges made up of community leaders from across the state in a format that resembles a Congressional hearing. They are then graded on a variety of areas, such as knowledge, reasoning, presentation and participation. We the People is a nationwide program developed by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center For Civic Education. The group’s s mission is to foster the development of informed, responsible citizen participation in civic life. The actual program is based on materials developed by the center, and the program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
I have served as a judge for the local competition in the Eighth Congressional District a few times, and I was a state judge for the elementary school competition. These kids really keep you on your toes, and it's just amazing how intelligent, informed and smart they really are. I was only able to sneak over to the Lansing Center to hear one unit and cheer on my hometown students Friday, but it was as always impressive.
There were nine high schools participating in the finals, and East Grand Rapids High School was the winner, followed by East Kentwood High School and the Highlanders in third place. In the past, East Kentwood dominated the event followed by Howell.
There is supposed to be a team from each of Michigan’s 15 Congressional Districts, but unfortunately not every high school in the state participates. Hopefully, we can change that. Also participating were Coldwater High School, Dryden High School from District 10, Hudsonville High School from District Two, Marquette Senior High School, Milan High School from District 15 and Rockford High School from District Three.
Congratulations to the winners, all the students who participated, the judges who volunteered their time and the teachers for including the outstanding program in their curriculum.