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01/31/2019

Ohio Students Make an Impact: Putting Civic Knowledge to the Test

News Release                                                                    Contact: Kate Strickland
For Immediate Release                                               OCLRE Executive Director
                                                                                                    KStrickland@oclre.org; 614-485-3510

Ohio Students Make an Impact: Putting Civic Knowledge to the Test

COLUMBUS (Jan. 31, 2019) – Nearly 200 students from across the Buckeye State are diligently studying to better understand the U.S Constitution, Ohio Constitution, and other founding documents.  They’re preparing to participate in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution state competition at the Ohio Statehouse on February 1. 

Students from eight Ohio high schools will participate: Findlay High School (Hancock County), Garaway High School (Tuscarawas County), Leaves of Learning (Hamilton County), Miller High School (Perry County), Ravenna High School (Portage County), Van Wert High School (Van Wert County), Washington High School (Fayette County), and West Carrollton High School (Montgomery County).

“These students are tomorrow’s leaders.  They have a firm grasp on American government and civics, preparing them to be productive, engaged members of society,” said Tim Kalgreen, program coordinator for OCLRE.  “They will have a positive impact.”

We the People students study the history, philosophies, evolution, and application of the Constitution.  The state competition format allows students to showcase their understanding of constitutional principles by presenting and evaluating positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. Students are asked a series of questions by a panel of volunteer judges, including policy makers, university professors, attorneys, and members of state government.

We the People is civic education in action,” said Andrea Oyer, teacher at Archbold High School.  “The competition is the experience that students talk about long after graduation.  They are as competitive in the hearing room as they are on the athletic field, and, as a teacher, it is phenomenal to see that fire!” 

Questions students are studying this year include: What is the role and importance of political parties in our political system?  How does the exercise of presidential power in the 21st century compare with the views of the Framers of the Constitution?  What responsibility, if any, do younger votes have to better understand government and the Constitution and Bill of Rights?

 “Through We the People, my students gain skills that the everyday classroom experience does not provide,” added P.J. Babb, West Carrollton High School’s We the People teacher.  “They gain public speaking skills, self-confidence, and the ability to problem solve.   We the People will not only prepare them to be engaged, active citizens, but will also advance skills needed in any job market after they graduate.”

The winning class will represent Ohio at the We the People National Finals to be held April 26-30 in Washington, D.C.

 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.

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