News


McNerney tells Amador 'We the People' team he's 'incredibly proud' of their effort

Meets group after their 3rd place finish among 51 high schools in annual competition

Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) congratulated Amador Valley High School teacher Keldon Clegg and his advanced civics class of seniors who finished third this week among 51 of the country's top high schools in the annual "We the People" competition in Washington, D.C.

McNerney met with the group Tuesday in his office on Capitol Hill.

"I'd like to congratulate the students of Amador Valley High School for taking third place in the national 'We the People" competition,' McNerney said. "Amador students have done a tremendous job representing their school and our region. I am incredibly proud of their hard work and join the entire community in congratulating them on this achievement."

Amador Valley High School finished third, trailing the first place winner East High School of Denver and runner-up Vestavia Hills (Ala.) High School.

East High also won the special Lincoln Award for having the highest score on questions about President Abraham Lincoln's Constitutional legacy.

The winners were announced at a banquet Monday night at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington.

After three days of simulated congressional hearings, during which students were required to apply constitutional principles and historical facts to contemporary situations, the class from East High School received the most votes of judges in the 22nd annual competition on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The national finals marked the end of months of study and hard-won victories at the congressional district and state levels for more than 1,100 high school students representing 50 states and the Northern Mariana Island.

The announcement of the top three classes as well as the 19 winners in other categories was made at the awards banquet before an audience of 1,500 students, teachers, coordinators, judges and other program participants. The winning class from Colorado was presented with an engraved plaque of the Constitution and each student received a gold medallion.

Vestavia Hills and Amador Valley classes were presented with plaques of the Bill of Rights and students were awarded medals, silver for the Alabama students and bronze for the Dons. The fourth- through 10th-place classes received engraved plaques.

Awards were also presented to the class with the highest non-finalist score in each of the six units of the text and in each of five geographic regions in the country. Certificates of appreciation were presented to each of the teachers of the 51 classes for their accomplishments in engaging their students in the study of the Constitution.

The first rounds of the competition took place over the weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

Tam Taylor snd Karen Whitaker, "We the People" program coordinators, said that the top 10 schools met on Capitol Hill yesterday where students demonstrated their knowledge of the Constitution before simulated congressional committees made up of constitutional scholars, lawyers, journalists and public officials.

The panel of judges tested the expertise of the teams on the six units of the "We the People: The

Citizen & the Constitution" text:

What are the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system?

How did the framers create the Constitution?

How has the Constitution been changed to further the ideals contained in the Declaration of Independence?

How did the values and principles embodied in the Constitution shape American institutions and practices?

What rights does the Bill of Rights protect?

What challenges might face American constitutional democracy in the 21st century?

The "We the People" program provides an intensive curriculum that offers students comprehensive instruction on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the principles and values they embody. The program is designed to promote an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in our constitutional democracy.

When combined with the companion noncompetitive elementary and middle school programs, more than 30 million students have participated in the program during the past 22 years. Developed and administered by the Los Angeles-based Center for Civic Education, the program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by Congress.

Besides East High, Vestavia Hills and Amador, the other high schools in the top 10 are:

Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Conn.

Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, Miami, Fl.

Hamilton Southeastern High School, Fishers, Ind.

East Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Mich.

East Brunswick High School, East Brunswick, N.J.

Grant High School, Portland, Ore.

Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International

Studies, Richmond, Va.

Amador has now represented California in the "We the People" nationals eight times. The school won the national championship in 1995.

The Dons had hoped to take the top position after months of after-school and late night preparations under Keldon Clegg's guidance, who was teaching the special class and coaching the "We the People" team for the first time.

Comments

Posted by AVHS Alumnus, a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

Congratulations to the 2009 WTP class! This is a remarkable achievement - as a former participant at AVHS in the mid-90's, I understand and admire their dedication for the last year.

Good job, guys! You have continued the AVHS WTP legacy!


Posted by Tony Recupero, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:55 am

Congratulations Comp Civics team, your hard work paid off big time. You represented for AVHS, Pleasanton and our state!


Posted by 38 Year Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:19 am

Great Job!! You have made many residents proud to be part of the same community. Thank you for representing us well!!


Posted by Clint Woods, a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2009 at 10:40 am

I'm so very proud of this team. All the credit in the world to the kids and Keldon Clegg. They earned a place amongst the champions.


Posted by AVHS Alumnus #2, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Third place in the Nation -- what a tremendous achievement! Truly a testament to these kids and their incredible, inspiring, and dedicated teacher -- Keldon Clegg (an AVHS alumnus). This is what makes Pleasanton schools so great. Unfortunately, unless something changes in the school budget, Mr. Clegg likely will not be at Amador next year. That would be a most unfortunate post-script to a truly remarkable accomplishment. Find a way, Pleasanton. For the kids.


Posted by Go Dons!, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 28, 2009 at 3:17 pm

They even beat the "Maggie L. Walker School Of Government" - a private magnet school focused on American government. That's awesome!!! I know that most of the schools they compete against at that level are coached by attorneys, not first-year teachers. 3rd place is truly an accomplishment worthy of celebration. Go Dons!


Posted by Ann, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:03 pm

The Maggie L. Walker School is actually a public magnet high school. It draws from 13 Richmond school districts.

Web Link

Otherwise, I agree with Go Dons.


Posted by Go Dons!, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Wow! I just looked at Ann's link. Check out the selection process to get into that school. Interesting! It's a public school, but it's not open to the "public" per se.

The reason I think that's interesting, is that I was once told Amador had a similar selection process for their AP classes several years ago but went to open enrollment as the result of a lawsuit in another district. In this lawsuit, a student argued (or rather, the student's attorney argued) that the selection process violated equal opportunity to education (as well as the opportunity to get higher than a 4.0 GPA, which helps college acceptance).

I don't know all the details of the lawsuit so maybe a comp civics student can fill in the blanks. They're the experts! :)

Just wondering how one public school can basically BE an AP program and have that kind of elite selection process while others have to let everyone in. Maybe it's federalism and VA is different than CA.


Posted by Retired Pleasanton Teacher, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2009 at 8:28 am

What an achievement! What a team! Congratulations on being recognized for all your hard work. How about posting the names of the team members? We would love to congratulate the individuals who dedicated so much time and effort to the process and success.


Posted by So Proud, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:21 am

Web Link

Good stuff around the 12:00 mark.


Posted by Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Apr 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I am incredibly impressed! I know the hard work that Keldon Clegg and the students have put in over the last three months. Many may not know that Comp Civics becomes an after school class after first semester. WE ARE ALL SO PROUD OF YOU!


Posted by Scott Walsh, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Congratulations to AVHS WTP Class. You are CLASS!!!


Posted by Don Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 29, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Also 5:35 mark. Mr. Klegg is an A+ teacher! He brings out the best in his students.


Posted by Don Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Sorry....it's 'Mr. Clegg'.


Posted by Ann Martin, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 29, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Congratulations 2009 Comp Civics team and Mr. Clegg for your well deserved success!


Posted by amy, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 30, 2009 at 9:26 am

Of course, it is an accomplishment for AVHS.

However, the HEADLINE of this article which FOCUSES ON McNERNEY, is TYPICAL of the LEFT LEANING PRESS! Why focus on this JOKE OF A CONGRESSMAN? I realize it is such a political stretch for him to say that he is proud of AVHS!!! As if a Repub congressman wouldn't also be proud.

This Pleasanton Weekly Press's BIAS and propping up of virtually ANY liberal cause is breathtakingly obvious.

Hey, PW staff...if and when you need another job, Obama's ACORN organization would be a good fit!!!



Posted by good grief, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:10 am

Amy your comments are so unnecessary. This is not about politics. It is about the success of these incredibly hardworking students and their teacher. Rant on another of the infinite number of threads on the PW site that are anti-Obama.

Fantastic job Amador!


Posted by GoAmador, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Another amazing accomplishment by the community that is AVHS. Amador is such a wonderful place for kids to learn and grow, this is just another example of the greatness of this place!


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm

The word on the street is that -- despite this tremendous achievement and his incredible dedication to his students -- Mr. Clegg will be laid off this summer. What a shame. Yes on G!


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Yes - this wonderful teacher will not be back and the Comp Civics program at Amador is in serious jeopardy.....


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