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Simulated Congressional Hearings bring out the best in students

Marvin Ridge students (from left) Lizzie Mamajek, Lauren Robinson, Schaffer Day, Rahi Patel, and Ava Erfani prepare to answer questions about Articles One, Two, and Three of the Constitution.

Teams from Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Forest Hills High School, and Marvin Ridge Middle School met at Wingate University to showcase their research and presentation abilities in the "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" competition.

The student presentations take place in a simulated congressional hearing. During the hearings, groups of students testify as constitutional experts before panels of judges. The judges act as the congressional committees. They score the groups using a performance-based assessment.

Each hearing begins with a four minute opening statement by the students. The students take turns providing a portion of their group's prepared answer to the judges. The judges then have a six minute period to ask follow-up questions to assess the team's knowledge, understanding, and ability to apply constitutional principles.

Forest Hills High School teacher Bryan Rudolph serves as the event organizer.

Mr. Rudolph shared, "I was really pleased with the turnout this year for the We the Students Day where over 100 students from both the Middle School and High School levels demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of citizenship and the Constitution. Having to present and be asked questions from professors and other experts can be a difficult task, but one that hopefully helps these young people become better citizens and decision makers."

Judges at this year's Wingate University event included NC Representative Craig Horne, Wingate University Associate Professor of Education Dr. Beth Murray, Wingate University Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Joseph Ellis, UCPS Community Relations and Communications Liaison Rob Jackson, Forest Hills High School Principal Dr. Kevin Plue, Monroe High School Principal Brad Breedlove, Piedmont High School Assistant Principal Sarah Starr, UCPS Lead Instructional Technology Specialist Scott Jacumin, recent University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Political Science graduate Evan Ross, and University of North Carolina - Charlotte students George Allen and Jessica Haney.  

The "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" Program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. The program enjoys active support from state bar associations and foundations, and other educational, professional, business, and community organizations across the nation. Since its inception in 1987, more than 30 million students and 90,000 educators have participated in the We the People program.

The 26th Annual We the People National Finals will be held April 26-29, 2013 and serves as the culminating event of the We the People high school program. The competition will be conducted on the campus of George Mason University and in hearing rooms on Capitol Hill.

Written by: Rob Jackson, Community Relations and Communications Liaison
Posted: Jan 03, 2013 by Rob Jackson

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