On Monday, February 8, Civics First held this year’s virtual We the People competition, coordinated seamlessly by board member Erin Simcik. As always, all participating students dazzled the judges with the depth of their knowledge of the United States Constitution.
We congratulate this year’s champion, Staples High School, coached by Suzanne Kammerman, and first runner-up, Trumbull High School, coached by Katie Boland. Both Staples and Trumbull will go on to represent Connecticut in the national We the People competition, where we know they will make us proud.
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is a nationally acclaimed civic education program which helps students understand the history and principles of our constitutional government. We the People focuses on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and fosters civic competence and responsibility among elementary and secondary students in public and private schools. The program is administered by the Center for Civic Education. It was established in 1987 under the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. For over 30 years, this civic education program has involved thousands of Connecticut students and teachers in the study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Students prepare for these hearings by completing an instructional program using the text, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. Each member of the class becomes an expert on one of the six units in the text and then testifies in small groups before a panel of judges acting as U.S. congressional representatives. During the simulated congressional hearing, students are judged on the following criteria: understanding, constitutional application, reasoning, supporting evidence, responsiveness, and participation.