Conveying an in-depth knowledge of civics, students from Bullitt East High School and Eastside Middle School were honored at the Kentucky We the People event last month at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center.
“Both teams did very well,” according to Kentucky We the People State Coordinator Glenn Manns. “Sue Roe’s BEHS team has participated in this event for the last several years and finished second to an always strong Highlands team that will go on to Nationals again this year. She and her students should be commended for their dedication and devotion to a very demanding curriculum. Statistically speaking, students that complete the We the People curriculum, knowledge of government and civics far surpasses that of traditional U.S. students in government.”
Roe said she could not be more proud of students Courtney Barnes, Lilly Haldeman, Chase Jackson, Marlene Michel, Kerrigan Miller, Seth Myers, Lauren Reuss, Joseph Scholtz, William Smith, Joshua Wetzel, Clay Williams and Sean Woods.
“They not only increased their knowledge of the Founding Era and the Constitution but they also applied their learning to 21st century events,” she said. “These students will become informed and engaged voters and active members of their communities.”
Manns congratulated Jennifer Faith and recognized her eighth grade team, as the first Middle School We the People State Winner. Both Jennifer and Sue’s teams were given a small trophy and each student a Certificate of Recognition.
Eastside students are Patrick Ballard, Allison Beck, Cole Britt, Morgan Butler, Kaitlyn Defler, Chloe Duke, Emma Egan, Casey Harbolt, Braedyn Hiemer, Molly Higginbotham, Heather Holter, Emily Huntsman, Peyton Isenberg, Brandon Johnson, Ally Lawson, Ashlee Lewis, Ethan Martin, Nathan Mitchell, Blake Parman, Camryn Payne, Emma Poole, Alyssah Sanders, Avery Smith, Macy Waddle, Tyler Wheatley, Gwenith Wiley and Emma Kate Wright.
Faith praised her students.
“The whole experience was wonderful and winning just made it better,” she said. “These kids worked very hard and the content and questioning portion was tough. They were analyzing material and answering questions about the Constitution. Listening to them during the competition and witnessing their growth as a student and American was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.”
Manns works in schools and classrooms daily noting that quality teachers make the difference.
“You have two exceptional ones teaching social studies,” he said.
The contest assessed students’ knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Teams studied law, history and civics in their classrooms to prepare for the event. Each team participated in mock Congressional hearings and was judged by U of L professors, McConnell Scholar alumni, local professionals and U of L students.
“Understanding the American constitutional order has always been vital. As civic education offerings have diminished in curriculum of many schools, programs like ‘We The People’ become ever more essential in our efforts to encourage our young people to understand and think though our heritage of free government,” said McConnell Center Director Gary Gregg. “I applaud these young people and their teachers for going the extra mile to become more informed and engaged citizens.”
“There are several facets of the program that are beneficial for students. Obviously, the rigorous content about government and civics are important but what’s even more important are the numerous soft skills, working collaboratively together, researching primary source texts, presenting complex ideas to adults” Manns said. “Students need these opportunities to work together and speak to adults about the intricacies of political and governmental issues to prepare them for citizenship but also leadership. We the People puts them in the arena of ideals and once there they come away much more confident in their abilities to speak, engage and learn about democratic process.”