The five schools were honored at a banquet that night in Sacramento by Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Rocklin), who was the keynote speaker.
More than 300 students from 11 high schools participated in the academic competition, which tested their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Amador Valley High School now advances to the We the People national finals, April 30-May 2, in Washington, D.C.
Students demonstrated their understanding of the Constitution before a simulated congressional committee consisting of constitutional scholars, lawyers, civic educators and government leaders who judged the classes' performances. The judges tested the students' comprehension of the six units of the "We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution" text.
Other classes also were recognized for their achievements during the awards banquet.
Officially called "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution," the program has reached more than 30 million students and 90,000 teachers since its inception in 1987. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by Congress and directed by the Center for Civic Education.
"We the People classes scored 30 percent higher than matched comparison government classes on a comprehensive test that measured understanding of core values and principles of democracy, constitutional limits on governmental institutions, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship," said Karen Whitaker, program manager for the Center for Civic Education in Woodland Hills, which handles the California program,.
The competing schools and their teachers/coaches that entered this year's competition were Arcadia High School, Arcadia; Arvin High School, Arvin; Centennial High School, Bakersfield; Liberty High School, Bakersfield; Monta Vista High School, Cupertino; Granite Hills High School, El Cajon; Irvington High School, Fremont; Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, Teacher: Keldon Clegg; Foothill High School, Pleasanton, Teacher: Jeremy Detamore; Martin Luther King Jr. High School, Riverside; and Yerba Buena High School, San Jose.
"These are the best and brightest students not only in the state but in the nation," said David Richmond, the program's state coordinator. "California classes frequently place in the top 10 at national finals, including a first-place win last year by Arcadia High School."
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