News

Amador Valley High celebrates We the People national championship

Dons win title for second time in school history; Foothill also finishes Top-4 in DC

The Amador Valley We the People team, seen here with U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell at the Capitol, won the national championship in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy PUSD)

The competition civics team from Amador Valley High School is the best in the country, winning the national We the People tournament last week.

Bringing home the school's second We the People national championship in history was a testament to the hard work and dedication of this Dons team in the competitive educational program that promotes civic competence and responsibility by having students demonstrate their understanding of government and the Constitution by participating in congressional hearings, according to coach Stacey Sklar.

"This year's team is truly an extraordinary group and it has been my pleasure to work with them. Not only did they place first at each stage of competition, but they also developed a genuine love of history and civics," said Sklar, who also teaches English at the school.

For the competition, Sklar traveled with the teams through Philadelphia and Washington, D.C, during which she could see their excitement and the benefits the program was having on the students.

"That deep understanding and appreciation for our system of government is what this program really fosters," Sklar said.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

It was a banner tournament for all of Pleasanton, as Foothill High School placed fourth in D.C. to give Pleasanton Unified School District two teams in the Top 4 at nationals for the second time in five years -- in 2018, the Falcons took second and the Dons were fourth. Amador previously won the national championship in 1995.

Foothill High School's We the People earned fourth place in the national tournament last week. (Photo courtesy PUSD)

"The students and adults that make up our competitive civics teams are truly remarkable and are always an inspiring example of our PUSD mission in action: Our students will make a better world," PUSD Superintendent David Haglund said in a statement congratulating both teams for their high finishes at nationals.

The two Pleasanton schools represented California among 47 teams and approximately 1,000 high schools from across the country at the national tournament held late last month.

The Amador championship team of 22 students includes seniors Soraia Bohner and Tom Li.

Li said he was always interested in STEM subjects but one history class he took made him appreciate civics better and he enjoyed the topics of the competition more than he expected.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

"I never knew that I could make a passion or really enjoy it a lot more than I did with science," Li said to the Weekly.

On the other hand, teammate Bohner said she was interested in civics and politics since middle school but the 2016 elections piqued her interest when her family started participating in public rallies.

"I don't know if I'd want to be like an elected official, that's a lot of pressure. But I would love to be a political science professor," she said.

The historic finishes by the Amador and Foothill teams this year was a culmination of thousands of hours of preparation by the students, teacher coaches (Foothill led by Jeremy Detamore and Graham McBride and Amador led by Sklar), as well as parent and competitive civics alumni, according to district officials.

"It was a true honor to coach this team," Detamore said. "Despite all the challenges of the last two years, they more than met the challenge of We the People and took Foothill to the second best showing in our history. I could not be more proud of their efforts and their accomplishments."

According to Bohner, Amador's preparation for the competition required dedication because the teammates spent anywhere from 24 to 30 hours per week outside school hours training to compete.

"Monday through Friday, we would call for three hours and we would practice," Bohner said. "And then on the weekends, we would spend six hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday meeting, going to the library, reading books together and discussing quotes and stuff like that."

According to the Amador seniors, the secret to their success is the close bond, understanding and teamwork among team members that helped them move ahead in the competition.

"We were all really close and I think that we were able to learn a lot about each other like strengths and weaknesses," Bohner said. "It really helped each other with that. So that by the time we competed, there weren't really any weaknesses that we didn't know about, so (when the time came) we could really handle that."

Li agreed that a good friendship made it easier for them to bring home the title after over a quarter century.

"I think because our team was so well bonded, and we were really friends and companions with each other. That's why we were able to take home the national title," said Li.

After months of preparation and hard work, the students said they are in awe of their victory.

"It is an indescribable feeling," Bohner said. "We spent seven months, you know, almost 30 hours a week doing this ... To win and be the national champions, it's indescribable."

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Shiri Marwaha moved to the Bay Area nine years ago. She got her associate in arts from De Anza College and transferred to San Jose State University to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. Read more >>

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Your support is vital to us continuing to bring you political news. Become a member today.

Amador Valley High celebrates We the People national championship

Dons win title for second time in school history; Foothill also finishes Top-4 in DC

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, May 4, 2022, 5:24 pm

The competition civics team from Amador Valley High School is the best in the country, winning the national We the People tournament last week.

Bringing home the school's second We the People national championship in history was a testament to the hard work and dedication of this Dons team in the competitive educational program that promotes civic competence and responsibility by having students demonstrate their understanding of government and the Constitution by participating in congressional hearings, according to coach Stacey Sklar.

"This year's team is truly an extraordinary group and it has been my pleasure to work with them. Not only did they place first at each stage of competition, but they also developed a genuine love of history and civics," said Sklar, who also teaches English at the school.

For the competition, Sklar traveled with the teams through Philadelphia and Washington, D.C, during which she could see their excitement and the benefits the program was having on the students.

"That deep understanding and appreciation for our system of government is what this program really fosters," Sklar said.

It was a banner tournament for all of Pleasanton, as Foothill High School placed fourth in D.C. to give Pleasanton Unified School District two teams in the Top 4 at nationals for the second time in five years -- in 2018, the Falcons took second and the Dons were fourth. Amador previously won the national championship in 1995.

"The students and adults that make up our competitive civics teams are truly remarkable and are always an inspiring example of our PUSD mission in action: Our students will make a better world," PUSD Superintendent David Haglund said in a statement congratulating both teams for their high finishes at nationals.

The two Pleasanton schools represented California among 47 teams and approximately 1,000 high schools from across the country at the national tournament held late last month.

The Amador championship team of 22 students includes seniors Soraia Bohner and Tom Li.

Li said he was always interested in STEM subjects but one history class he took made him appreciate civics better and he enjoyed the topics of the competition more than he expected.

"I never knew that I could make a passion or really enjoy it a lot more than I did with science," Li said to the Weekly.

On the other hand, teammate Bohner said she was interested in civics and politics since middle school but the 2016 elections piqued her interest when her family started participating in public rallies.

"I don't know if I'd want to be like an elected official, that's a lot of pressure. But I would love to be a political science professor," she said.

The historic finishes by the Amador and Foothill teams this year was a culmination of thousands of hours of preparation by the students, teacher coaches (Foothill led by Jeremy Detamore and Graham McBride and Amador led by Sklar), as well as parent and competitive civics alumni, according to district officials.

"It was a true honor to coach this team," Detamore said. "Despite all the challenges of the last two years, they more than met the challenge of We the People and took Foothill to the second best showing in our history. I could not be more proud of their efforts and their accomplishments."

According to Bohner, Amador's preparation for the competition required dedication because the teammates spent anywhere from 24 to 30 hours per week outside school hours training to compete.

"Monday through Friday, we would call for three hours and we would practice," Bohner said. "And then on the weekends, we would spend six hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday meeting, going to the library, reading books together and discussing quotes and stuff like that."

According to the Amador seniors, the secret to their success is the close bond, understanding and teamwork among team members that helped them move ahead in the competition.

"We were all really close and I think that we were able to learn a lot about each other like strengths and weaknesses," Bohner said. "It really helped each other with that. So that by the time we competed, there weren't really any weaknesses that we didn't know about, so (when the time came) we could really handle that."

Li agreed that a good friendship made it easier for them to bring home the title after over a quarter century.

"I think because our team was so well bonded, and we were really friends and companions with each other. That's why we were able to take home the national title," said Li.

After months of preparation and hard work, the students said they are in awe of their victory.

"It is an indescribable feeling," Bohner said. "We spent seven months, you know, almost 30 hours a week doing this ... To win and be the national champions, it's indescribable."

Comments

Joe V
Registered user
Birdland
on May 5, 2022 at 9:53 am
Joe V, Birdland
Registered user
on May 5, 2022 at 9:53 am

Incredible achievement!
Like reading the time spent studying, and the friendship, was two of the most important parts in achieving your goal.
Congratulations to everyone that was part of this journey!


Erlinda
Registered user
Danbury Park
on May 5, 2022 at 6:44 pm
Erlinda , Danbury Park
Registered user
on May 5, 2022 at 6:44 pm

Wow such an achievement.
I’m so proud coz AVHS is in Pleasanton and I live here.
Congratulations to all of you and those teachers who helped to make it happened.
Parents are so proud.
Thanks


Erlinda
Registered user
Danbury Park
on May 5, 2022 at 6:44 pm
Erlinda , Danbury Park
Registered user
on May 5, 2022 at 6:44 pm

Wow such an achievement.
I’m so proud coz AVHS is in Pleasanton and I live here.
Congratulations to all of you and those teachers who helped to make it happened.
Parents are so proud.
Thanks


LanceM
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 10, 2022 at 8:57 pm
LanceM, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 8:57 pm

Amazing group of students as well as their coach.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.