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Bar News - January 4, 2008

Schools Participate in Tense "We the People..." Contest

From left, Benjamin Langlois, Jonathan Hamel, Maya Tobi and Lauren Busa of Milford High School smile for the camera after completing their first round at the "We the People...The Citizen and the Constitution" District Competition on Dec. 14, 2007.

Nervous energy permeated the air in the hallways of the Legislative Office Building in Concord on Dec. 14 as more than 100 students filed in to begin their participation in the "We the People…The Citizen and the Constitution" District Competition.

The "We the People..." program is a nationally acclaimed civic education instructional program designed to enhance students’ understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy, while allowing them to discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The culminating activity of the program is a simulated congressional hearing in which students "testify" before a panel of judges. Schools participate in a district competition and the winners move on to the state competition. The top performing team from each state attends the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Once the staff was prepped, the competition began with the judges’ panels - composed of NH attorneys, judges, and legislators - filing into each committee room where student s eagerly awaited. Each judicial panel asked one of three questions, which included: the constitutionality of holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay; the legalities of searching lockers of students on school grounds; and the role and constitutionality of the Electoral College in the US governmental system.

Students did their best to answer the judges, who scored performance based upon knowledge of the material and the effectiveness of the students’ arguments.

The day ended with Robin Knippers, NHBA Law Related Education Coordinator, announcing the three finalists. Milford High School, John Stark Regional High School - E Block, and Nashua High School North will all move on to the state competition in January at the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The winning team of the state competition will go head-to-head with 49 other schools at the national competition in Washington, D.C.

From left, Attorney Barbara R. Keshen, NH Supreme Court Justice James E. Duggan and NH Representative Nancy F. Stiles, hear "testimony" from Nashua HIgh School - North.

Attorney Martin Honigberg, in focus, center, questions students from Nashua High School North during the District Competition on Dec. 14 at the Legislative Office Building in Concord

Milford High School celebrating after their first round of competition.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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