In a repeat of history, Amador Valley and Foothill schools have qualified together for the third year running to represent California at the We the People national civics competition this spring in Washington, D.C.
Both Pleasanton teams snagged the top two spots at the qualifying state championship in Lake County last weekend. The highly decorated Dons team took first place while the Falcons finished in second place and earned a wild-card berth into nationals; Amador also won first and Foothill placed second in the 2019 state competition.
The two teams are the only ones from California to advance to this year's national finals.
"We could not be more proud of this remarkable group of students as well as the dedicated teachers, families and alumni who support their success," Pleasanton Unified School District Superintendent David Haglund said in a statement.
"Now more than ever it is critical for our students to be prepared to be responsible and engaged global citizens. This group of world-class students are living proof of the power of civics education in fostering tomorrow's leaders," Haglund added.
We the People is a competitive civics program in which students demonstrate their constitutional knowledge and understanding of federal government in mock congressional hearings. Students use critical thinking and other academic skills to analyze and defend positions on historical and contemporary matters.
The groups, made up of seniors at Amador and Foothill, respectively, spent "thousands of hours studying and rehearsing" with their competitive civics coaches --Stacey Sklar for Amador, which is going to nationals for the fourth year in a row, and Jeremy Detamore and Graham McBride for the Foothill team, also taking their third consecutive trip to finals.
"Everyone worked hard and did a terrific job at competition," Sklar said. "I am so proud of this group, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow and learn as they prepare for their journey to Nationals in April."
Detamore "could not be prouder of all of the work that they have done" to get to Nationals, he said. "This team has put in countless hours and has shown real grit and determination over these last few months."
Last year Amador and Foothill teams both represented California at nationals, with the Dons earning second place overall while the Falcons were eliminated in an earlier round. Both schools also grabbed top-four finishes in D.C. in 2018. Amador has been to nationals 18 times over the years and placed 15 times among the top-10 teams, including winning the 1995 national title.
The 33rd annual We The People national finals take place April 24-27 in Washington, D.C.