COLUMBUS — Is Congress the most important link between the American people and their national government? What is the value of the dissenting opinion in American jurisprudence? Why did Congress think it was necessary to pass the Voting Rights Act?
These are a few of the questions high school students from across the state prepared to answer at the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution state competition held on January 27 at the Ohio Statehouse.
More than 300 Ohio students from 11 schools participated: Archbold High School, Ayersville High School, Bellbrook High School, Findlay High School, Leaves of Learning, Ravenna High School, Strongsville High School, Van Wert High School, Washington High School, and West Carrollton High School. An additional participating class is composed of high school students involved in the Law & Leadership Institute based at the University of Cincinnati site.
“We the People allows our students to put their academic talents on display. Students are motivated by this element of competition to learn more, challenge each other, and connect with the content unlike any other way,” said Andrea Oyer, teacher at Archbold 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 state legislators, college professors, judges, attorneys, and other community leaders.
“These students really have an in-depth understanding of our government and the principles of American democracy. They understand their roles as citizens and are ready to formulate and defend their own thoughts and ideas. Ohio’s future is bright with these young people ready to take the helm,” said Tim Kalgreen, We the People program coordinator for OCLRE.
The winning class will represent Ohio in the We the People National Finals to be held April 21-25 in Washington, D.C.
Story courtesy of We the People, a national program of the Center for Civic Education.