Bar News - January 15, 2010
We The People Growing
On Jan. 8, more than 67 students from three NH high schools traveled to the Legislative Office Building in Concord to demonstrate their knowledge of the US Constitution in the state finals of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program.
Milford teacher Dave Alcox, right, videotapes his team at the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution district competition on December 11, 2009, at the Legislative Office Building in Concord.
But the program touches many more students and teachers than those who made it to Concord. We the People is more than a competition program, says Robin Knippers, Law Related Education coordinator for the Bar. It is a curriculum that many teachers use in their classrooms, relying on textbook sets provided by the NHBA at no charge to the schools, with the costs borne by the Center for Civic Education. Knippers said she has distributed more than 50 We the People textbook sets to NH schools this year, the highest number yet, with orders still being received.
The Center, which receives federal funding, also provides grants to the NHBA to conduct the competitions, which included a district, or preliminary round of competition in December. Between the two competitions, more than 100 students participated in the live competitions. On Jan. 8, entire classes, competing as teams, from Nashua High School-North, John Stark Regional High School, and Milford High School vied for the state championship of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program.
The competition challenges students, their minds sharpened by months of intense study of the US Constitution, to demonstrate that knowledge through prepared remarks and by answering questions posed to them by leading attorneys, judges, and state government officials, who volunteer to judge the competitions. The subject matter is not just what the Constitution says, but how it has been applied and even how it might be applied to current or hypothetical situations.
The winner of the NH State Finals will go to Washington, D.C. in the spring to represent New Hampshire at the We the People National Finals. Check www.nhbar.org for results of the state finals.