Amador Valley High School received the Civic Learning Award of Merit Wednesday, presented by Superior Court Judge and former Pleasanton school board member Stephen Pulido.
This award, co-sponsored by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, celebrates public high schools' efforts to engage students in civic learning and identifies effective and replicable civic learning models.
According to Amador's competition civics teacher Brian Ladd, civic learning is a big part of the school and the Pleasanton school district. It can be seen in the science department, the UNICEF Club, Key Club, Interact Club and much more.
A part of the Civic Learning Award application process was to describe up to three courses, clubs or educational programs that incorporate one of the six civic learning proven practices: classroom instruction, discussion of current events and controversial issues, service-learning , extracurricular activities, student participation in school governance and simulations of democratic processes.
In addition to the Civic Learning Award plaque presentation, some of the students from Amador's "We the People" team did a mock congressional hearing that was similar to what they went through at the 27th Annual We the People National Finals in Washington, D.C., where they placed second.
The mock hearing was then followed by students sharing what kind of impact civic education has had on themselves and their family.
Senior Christine Xu said that by receiving a civic education, she has been able to talk to her immigrant parents more about the government, even having debates with them regarding political candidates.
She also added, "I learned that ordinary students like us, we can make a difference in the world."
School administrators and district representatives in attendance echoed her statement.
"You are the future," said Pleasanton schools Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.
"That lens of social justice and equality you all have is going to impact the world in so many ways," she added. "I have hope for our future because of kids like you."
Many students told the Pleasanton Weekly that being a part of "We the People" has even influenced what their major course of study will be in college.
Senior Jennifer Teitell was originally looking at journalism as her major but switched to political science.
Some of the colleges "We the People" team members will be attending in the fall include UC Berkeley, Yale University and UCLA.