Students to Show Off Civic Savvy at Virtual Competition
COLUMBUS (Jan. 28, 2021) – What provisions, if any, imply a right to vote in the body of the Constitution? Where, if at all, is the right to privacy reflected in the U.S. Constitution? What is the relationship between Native American tribes and the national government?
These are a few of the questions that high school students from across the state have been preparing to answer at the 2021 Virtual We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Competition to be held January 29 via Zoom.
Nearly 150 Ohio students from seven schools will participate: Archbold High School (Fulton County), Ayersville High School (Defiance County), Dayton Public Schools (Montgomery County), Findlay High School (Hancock County), Garaway High School (Tuscarawas County), Ravenna High School (Portage County), and West Carrollton High School (Montgomery County).
“This program allows students to get out of their comfort zone and really put forth the effort to make themselves look and sound presentable and knowledgeable about the U.S. Constitution,” said Courtney Reiner, a teacher at Ayersville High School
Students showcase their understanding of constitutional principles by presenting and evaluating positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. After providing prepared answers to competition questions, students undergo questioning in simulated legislative hearings. Competition judges include college professors, judges, attorneys, and other community leaders.
Continuing a practice of the past several years, OCLRE wrote a special question for the students to tackle based on the Ohio Constitution. The question asks the students to grapple with whether Constitutional amendments make government better.
“The Ohio Constitution question helps to hone students’ understanding of the Ohio Constitution,” said Kelly Masterson, We the People program coordinator for OCLRE. “Students’ in-depth knowledge of Ohio government prepares them to be better Ohio citizens and complements their understanding of the U.S. Constitution.”
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns and restrictions, the 2021 Ohio We the People State Competition/Invitational will take place on Zoom. This allows students and volunteers to remain safely in their homes, classrooms, or workspaces while still interacting in real time. The winning class will represent Ohio at the Virtual We the People National Finals, to be held April 23-26.
We the People is administered in Ohio by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) and is a national program of the Center for Civic Education. OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation. In Ohio, We the People is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information please visit www.oclre.org.