Amador Valley 'We the People' team places 2nd in D.C. | May 3, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 3, 2013

Amador Valley 'We the People' team places 2nd in D.C.

Grant High of Portland takes top honors

by Jeb Bing

Amador Valley High School's "We the People" team returned home to cheers and congratulations from parents and supporters at the school's campus at 9 p.m. Tuesday night, ending a six-day trip to Washington, D.C., where Amador placed second in national finals out of schools from 44 other states and the District of Columbia.

The students, all part of the Competition Civics class, and those in the welcome home celebration thanked their social studies and civics teachers Brian Ladd and Mairi Wohlgemuth for their many hours of coaching since last September, leading up to Monday night's awards ceremony.

Then they left for home with Advanced Placement tests and final exams ahead as their graduation days approach.

With this year's champion Competition Civics class over, it will be up to another class and new students to re-start the program next August. New teacher-coaches will also have to take over since both Ladd and Wohlgemuth have said this would be their last year to head up the "We the People" program at Amador. The school's principal, Jim Hansen, a long-time supporter of the We the People program, also is retiring this year.

This was the 12th time Amador Valley has represented California in the We the People national competition. The school's team won the state championship in Bakersfield on Feb. 9, and since has been meeting after school, on weeknights and weekends preparing for the national finals.

Amador won the nationals in 1995, but this year that top honor went to students from Grant High School of Portland, Ore., who won first place.

The competition results were announced at an awards ceremony Monday evening before an audience of more than 1,900 students, teachers, coordinators, judges and other program participants.

The students had just completed three days of simulated congressional hearings that tested their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

During the competition, students demonstrated their knowledge of the Constitution before simulated congressional committees made up of state supreme court judges, constitutional scholars, lawyers, public officials and We the People alumni. The first rounds of the hearings took place Saturday and Sunday. Monday, the top-10 schools competed in actual congressional hearing rooms on Capitol Hill.

Amador Valley seniors who made presentations in Washington were Dena Behnam, Grant Bonham, Sara Borchers, Grant Cohen, Courtney Dickson, Will Dormann, Teresa Duddy, Blair Guilfoile, Mekhala Hoskote, Shubhanker Kapoor, Bobby Lee, Mitchell Mayo and Sabrina McGraw.

Also making presentations were Adriana Morton, Sri Muppidi, Jordan Nally, Jon Nieman, Alexis Orozco, Dhiraj Pangal, Henry Person, Jena Pianin, Nick Powell, Anika Riley, Adit Sinha, Arany Uthayakumar, Eric Yang, Yves Yang, Kashyap Yechuri and Ke Zhao.

2013 We the People award winners

National winner: Grant High School, Portland, Ore.

2nd Place: Amador Valley High School

3rd Place: Denver (Colo.) East High School

4th Place: Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Ala.

5th Place: Cathedral High School, Indianapolis, Ind.

6th Place: Corona del Sol High School, Tempe, Ariz.

7th Place: Tahoma Senior High School, Covington, Wash.

8th Place: Trumbull High School, Trumbull, Conn.

9th Place: Maine South High School, Park Ridge, Ill.

10th Place: Plainfield High School, Plainfield, Ind.


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