Students Show Off Civic Savvy at Virtual Competition
COLUMBUS (Jan. 27, 2022) – What were the British influences, if any, on American Constitutionalism? What were the Federalists’ views regarding representation in the Constitution? To what extent, if any, has the Court’s power of judicial review served to balance individual liberty and the common good?
These are a few of the questions that high school students have been preparing to answer at the 2022 Virtual We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Competition to be held January 28.
Nearly 160 students from ten schools will participate: Archbold High School (Fulton County), Ayersville High School (Defiance County), Belmont High School (Montgomery County), Findlay High School (Hancock County), Garaway High School (Tuscarawas County), Ravenna High School (Portage County), Van Wert High School (Van Wert County) and West Carrollton High School (Montgomery County). Additionally, two out of state classes will showcase with Ohio teams, as they are the only schools from their state to participate in We the People: Highlands High School (Kentucky) and St. Johnsbury Academy (Vermont).
Students will 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 Ohio students to tackle based on the Ohio Constitution. The question asks students to grapple with whether Constitutional amendments make government better.
“The Ohio Constitution question assists students to better understand the governmental working of Ohio,” said Cheyenne Oechsle, We the People program coordinator. “If students understand Ohio governmental history and function, they then become better and more proactive citizens.”
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns and restrictions, the 2022 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 first and second place Ohio classes will represent Ohio at the Virtual We the People National Finals, to be hosted by the Center for Civic Education April 22-26 via Zoom.
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.