Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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We the People: state champs from IL, Md.

The Center for Civic Education announced most of this year’s high school state champs, including those from Illinois and Maryland, for the 30th annual “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition. Teams are making plans to be in Washington for the national finals on April 21–24.

From Illinois, the Constitution Team from Maine South High School in Park Ridge will be traveling to Washington for the national finals. Maine South, while perhaps making more headlines with its football team, has won the state championship for We the People every year since 1991, with the exception of 1993. The team participated in a special recognition announcement at the Park Ridge City Council meeting last week.

“The students engaged in hours of work on various constitutional issues, from the background of the Constitution, the philosophy that underscores the document and why it is the way it is, to modern issues like public policy on immigration reform and what our rights should be,” the Pioneer Press quoted coach Andrew Trenkle as saying. And he ought to know: he’s a Maine South alum and a former Constitution Team member. In a wild card spot from Illinois is St. Joseph-Ogden High School from near Champaign.

From Maryland, Boonsboro High School won the state championship. Boonsboro is in Washington County, so maybe that’s an omen of how the team can be expected to do at nationals. This team has been to the national competition three times now in the last five years.

“I’m very excited to go to D.C. this year,” the Herald-Mail quoted Ellie Connelly, a 16-year-old junior who wants to pursue a pre-law degree, as saying. “It’s been a very busy experience, but it’s had a lot of rewards to it.”

Teams deliver a four-minute statement in front of competition judges, who may actually be judges or legislators, on specific questions about the country’s governing doctrine.

“After they deliver their statement, they have to off-the-cuff prepare to answer questions from those judges for six minutes,” the paper quoted Boonsboro’s coach, Ashley Vascik, as saying. “They get judged on a bunch of different things, like their poise, their speech, how well they equally participate in the questioning and also their constitutional knowledge.”

Washington County Public Schools will cover much of the expense for the trip, which includes visits to monuments and museums, but the group will also try to enhance its fundraising with an event on Monday, February 27, at Panera Bread in Hagerstown. From sales between 6 and 9 PM, 10 percent will go toward the school’s trip.

We the People, national finals, April 21–24, Washington, D.C.

State representatives

State School
(*) = wild card
Alabama Vestavia Hills High School Amy Maddox & Jane Schaefer
Alaska West Valley High School Amy Gallaway
Arizona Hamilton High School Jacob Harvey
Arkansas Valley View High School Jacob Lamberson
California Amador Valley High School Stacey Sklar
California Arcadia High School (*) Megan Leahy
Colorado Denver East High School Mark Thalhofer
Connecticut Trumbull High School Katie Boland
Connecticut Staples High School (*) Suzanne Kammerman
Delaware TBD after Feb. 13 Check here
District of Columbia TBD after Feb. 15 Check here
Florida Pine Crest School Patricia Everett
Hawaii Kahuku High & Intermediate School Michael Lau
Idaho Blackfoot High School Holly Kartchner
Illinois Maine South High School Andrew Trenkle
Illinois St Joseph-Ogden High School (*) Marshall Schacht
Indiana Cathedral High School Jill Baisinger
Indiana Plainfield High School (*) Chris Cavanaugh
Kansas Blue Valley Northwest High School Ken Thomas
Kansas Emporia High School (*) Jamie Dawson
Kentucky Highlands High School Megan Boimann-Hennies
Louisiana Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies Chris Totaro
Maine Marshwood High School Matthew Sanzone
Maryland Boonsboro High School Ashley Vascik
Massachusetts Williston Northampton School Peter Gunn
Massachusetts Academy of the Pacific Rim (*) Laura Honeywood
Michigan East Grand Rapids High School Adam Horos
Missouri Westminster Christian Academy Ken Boesch
Montana Laurel High School Lee Deming
Nebraska Lincoln Southeast High School David Nebel
Nevada Reno High School Richard Clark
Nevada Incline High School (*) Milton Hyams
New Jersey Marlboro High School Craig Uplinger
New Jersey East Brunswick High School (*) Alan Brodman
New Mexico Moriarty High School Amy Page
New York New Visions Law & Government Richard Bader
New York Forest Hills High School (*) Tara Kelly
North Carolina TBD after March 8 Check here
Ohio Bellbrook High School Erin Snowden
Oregon Grant High School Jeremy Reinholt
Pennsylvania Elizabethtown Area High School James Sostack
Rhode Island North Smithfield High School Natalie O’Brien
South Carolina River Bluff High School Linsy Dooley
South Dakota Spearfish High School Patrick Gainey
Texas Del Valle High School Michael Cunningham
Utah Sky View High School Michael Rigby
Utah Mountain Crest High School / Ridgeline High School (*) Julie Major / Sari Sparks
Virginia Maggie L Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies Samuel Ulmschneider
Virginia Douglas S Freeman High School (*) Robert Peck
Washington Tahoma Senior High School Gretchen Wulfing
West Virginia Clay County High School Philip Dobbins
Wisconsin Wauwatosa West High School Chad Mateske
Wyoming Sheridan High School Tyson Emborg
Wyoming Cheyenne Central High School (*) Sara Miller

Note: The organization listed no team from Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, or Vermont—or a finals date for those states—as of our publication date.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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