Amador again moves to finals in 'We the People' competition | News | |


Amador again moves to finals in 'We the People' competition

Hearings continue today with winner to be announced tonight at hotel banquet

Amador Valley High School is advancing to the championship round of the 2009 "We the People" national finals today in Washington, D.C., it was announced late yesterday.

The school's Advanced Civics class will be one of 10 teams that will compete for first place in the academic competition, where students demonstrate their constitutional knowledge during simulated congressional hearings. The championship round will take place in congressional hearing rooms on Capitol Hill.

Amador is well known on the "We the People" circuit, having won state championships and competed in the nationals eight times. The school won the national championship in 1995. This year's class is being coached for the first time by civics teachers Keldon Clegg.

About 1,100 high school students from all 50 states and the Northern Mariana Islands have gathered in Washington to participate in the 22nd annual finals of the competition, formally known as the "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution."

The initial field of 51 classes was reduced to 10 finalists based on the combined scores of each class over the past two days of intense examination of their constitutional knowledge.

In the competition, students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge of constitutional issues before simulated congressional committees composed of constitutional scholars, lawyers, journalists, and public officials. Students complete a comprehensive course of study on the Constitution to qualify for the competition and the national finalists have won their congressional district and state-level competitions in order to advance to Washington.

The first, second and third place schools will be announced and awards presented during a banquet at the Omni Shoreham Hotel tonight. Awards will also be given to non-finalist schools that have the highest scores in each of the six tested areas of knowledge and to the school from each of the five geographical regions with the highest overall score.

To commemorate the bicentennial of the 16th president's birth, a special Lincoln Award will be given to the class with the highest score on a question about Abraham Lincoln and his constitutional legacy.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy will receive the 2009 Dale E. Kildee Civitas Award for his contributions to civic education.

More than 30 million elementary, middle, and high school students have participated in the "We the People" program since its inception in 1987. 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 Amador, the nine other finalists competing tomorrow are Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Ala.; Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Conn.; Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, Miami, Fl.; East Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Grant High School, Portland, Ore.; East High School, Denver, Colo.; Hamilton Southeastern High School, Fishers, Ind.; East Brunswick High School, East Brunswick, N.J., and Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, Richmond, Va.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 27, 2009 at 8:17 am

Well done Amador. We're rooting for you.

1 person likes this
Posted by AVHS Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2009 at 8:26 am

I am so proud of you all! It takes an amazing amount of hard work and dedication to get to Washington and once there, the competition is fierce. Well done and congratulations to you all.

Like this comment
Posted by Terry
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 27, 2009 at 8:27 am

Well done, Dons. What's amazing about this is that many of these other schools have multi-year programs designed to culminate in this competition. Our team starts over each year with a new team.

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Posted by Proud AVHS Mom
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 27, 2009 at 9:54 am

Congratulations Amador Valley students, parents and all the Amador staff that has made this experience possible. This takes ALOT of hard work. My son went to DC with the "We the People" representing Amador five years ago and had the most wonderful experience of his life. With the influence of this program, he now has his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and continuing onto law school. I'm so proud of Amador Valley High and excited to see this opportunity for these young adults representing our school. Our community is truly blessed. Good luck and thanks for all your hard work!

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Posted by Ngo Loon
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Apr 27, 2009 at 10:02 am

Congratulations to the Amador team. May you have great success in the finals.

Footnote: What in the heck is Leahy getting a civic award for? The guy is a left-wing loon bent on turning the U. S. into a socialist backwater. OMG!

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Posted by Taylor
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Actually, Terry, most teams start fresh every year, just as ours does. I know for a fact that the Colorado team, who has now won for three years in a row, brings a new group of kids every year. While, admittedly, there are some that do have multi-year programs, the vast majority have one-year programs.

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 27, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Colarado has a multi-year program. They bring juniors with them, they just don't compete until the next year-but they have a much better idea of what to expect. It is *not* a level playing field, which is what makes Amador's continuing success so impressive.

I do not mean to denigrate any of the others--it is ultimately the kids who face the judges, and I congratulate the Colorado team.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm

I'm hoping the teacher that coaches them has a job next year! :/

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Posted by Taylor
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 27, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Ann, you're correct that Colorado brings juniors with them, but those juniors are not permitted to compete the following year. I participated in the program when I was in high school, and was a junior that was not permitted to return.

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Posted by Long-time resident
a resident of West of Foothill
on Apr 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm

From the We the People website - looks like AVHS took third place tonight behind Colorado #1 and Alabama #2.
Congrats AVHS!

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 28, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Taylor-Thanks for the info!

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Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Walnut Hills
on Apr 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm

@ Taylor:

Just wondering why kids would want to be in the Competitions Civics program as juniors in CO if doing so prevents them from ever actually being able to compete?

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Posted by Taylor
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Jennifer--sorry, I should have been clearer. When I was there, the team was comprised of juniors and seniors who competed for one year (one cycle) and then left the program. So each kid gets to compete exactly once in districts, state, and nationals, assuming the team advances past each level.

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Posted by colorado parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:28 pm

To further clarify -- Our team this year had 25 juniors and one senior. The senior neither competed nor went to the competition last year, and the juniors will not compete next year, although one or two may be teaching assistants in the class. This year's teacher is new to the competition, although the panels are coached by people who have been dedicating hundreds of hours every year to this program, for its educational value. (None are parents of current students.) It's kind of petty to denigrate our kids' achievements; we are an inner city urban school. We think your kids did a great job; so did ours.

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Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Walnut Hills
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I definitely wasn't trying to denigrate anyone with my question. I just didn't understand the logic of the program until Taylor clarified it for me. Kudos to everyone who participated and did well :)

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 29, 2009 at 1:02 pm

To the Colorado team from an Amador parent, congratulations! Our students performed brilliantly, so the Colorado students must have been extra special.

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