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Milford High School Students Compete in U.S. Constitution Program National Finals in Washington, D.C.

Starting May 3, students from Milford High School will travel to Washington, D.C., where they will represent New Hampshire in the national finals of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. About 1,200 high school students from all 50 states and Saipan will participate in the highly prestigious academic competition on the U.S. Constitution.

The Milford students have studied for months to prepare for their role as experts testifying on constitutional issues in a simulated congressional hearing. To represent their state at the national finals, the class won their congressional district and state competitions earlier this school year. The competition in New Hampshire is sponsored by the New Hampshire Bar Association.

”I’m really excited that students from Milford High School will get an opportunity to compete against some of the top schools in the nation. I think the program comes full circle for the students when they experience the DC National Finals”, said “We the People…” teacher Dave Alcox.

The first round of the national finals will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Virginia, May 3 and 4.

Now in its 21st year, the competition involves entire classes making presentations and answering questions on constitutional topics before a panel of judges recruited from across the country. Constitutional scholars, lawyers, and government leaders, acting as congressional committee members, will judge the students' performances. The combined scores of the classes during the first two days of hearings will determine the top 10 classes to compete in the championship round Monday, May 5 in congressional hearing rooms in the Senate Dirksen Office Building.

The annual three-day final competition is the culminating activity of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, the most extensive civic education program of its kind in the country. The Milford High School students have been studying We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, developed by the Center for Civic Education. The text provides students with an understanding of the fundamental values and principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Students representing Milford High School are Luke Betelak, Lauren Busa, Erica Conaty, Jackson McClure, April Hall, Casey Linden, Jonathan Hamel, Ben Langlois, Lindsay Lozeau, Erica Lubitz, Max Morelli, Israel Piedra, Max Pikcilingis, Shaniqua Rogers, Mitchell Stagnone, Maya Tobi, Brittney Witten and Julia Lessard.

During their stay in Washington, D.C., the students will tour historical sites and have an opportunity to visit Senator John Sununu Jr. at which time they will enjoy time discussing political issues with the Senator.

We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by the United States Congress. The program is directed by the Center for Civic Education in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Robin E. Knippers, Law Related Education Coordinator for the New Hampshire Bar Association, administers the program for NH while working closely with Michael Brosnan, who coordinates the program for District 2 in NH. Nationwide, the program is implemented at the upper elementary, middle, and high school levels and has reached more than 30 million students and 81,000 teachers during its 21-year history.

A 2006–2007 independent study examined the effects of the We the People program on civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes, evaluating We the People participants and a matched comparison group of high school government students. We the People students scored 30 percent higher than their peers on a comprehensive test that measured understanding of core values and principles of democracy, constitutional limits on governmental institutions, and rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

School Contacts:
Dave Alcox - Milford High School- 673-4201

Bar Association Contact:
Robin E. Knippers, Law-Related Education Coordinator 715-3259

Center for Civic Education
Tam Taylor - 202-861-8800

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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