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Concord, NH, January 10, 2020 – The New Hampshire Bar Association’s Law Related Education Program congratulates Hollis Brookline High School students on their first place win in the “We The People” State Finals held at the State Legislative Office Building on January 10. The now, State Champion’s success was the product of long hours of dedicated studying in preparation for simulated Congressional hearings that the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Law Related Education Program hosted as part of the “We the People” culminating event this past winter in the state.

The 22 Hollis Brookline High School students had received a top score based on their responses to “We the People” 2019-2020 questions, including the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system, the framing of the Constitution, and challenges facing American democracy in the 21st century, among many others. A sample question: “Ideas of power, rights, and limited government varied in the first state constitutions in the United States. Identify and explain some of these ideas and explain why there were some marked differences among the state constitutions.”

Trevor Duval, AP Government & Policy Teacher at Hollis Brookline High School, and Leader of the State Champions had this to say about the team’s win, “To be the best you have to go after the best, and that is Milford High School, and Dave Alcox….My students have become much better public speakers and this program is their favorite part of my class…students take this class for this experience”. Students of Mr. Duval’s team include Harry Bates, Henri Boudreau, Aaron Brown, Victoria Bruzik, Gillian Campbell, Aidan Chretien, Caleb Clark, Lily Coady, Laura Considine, Ryan Coutu, Austin Etchells, Joshua Ide, Lily Jackson, Mary Martin, Ian McNabb, Noah Penasack, Hannah Riseman, Emma Ruvido, Nate Sartell, Morgan Sattler, Sammie Sheppard, and Maxwell Stapelfeld.

“We the People” curriculum, a program of the Center for Civic Education, and administered by the NHBA’s Law Related Education program, has been taught in New Hampshire schools in grades four through 12 for more than 30 years and is a premier Law Related Education program of the NHBA. The Bar holds the “We the People” district hearings and state finals annually. All NH high schools teaching the “We The People” curriculum are invited to take part in these culminating events. The state champions enjoy the opportunity to take part in the national finals in Washington, D.C. each spring.

According to the Center, the hearings provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and ideas during four-minute statements before panels of community members acting as congressional committees. The students are judged based on their understanding, constitutional application, reasoning, supporting evidence, responsiveness, and participation.

The NH State Representative of Hillsborough County, District 23, Milford, and former social studies teacher at Merrimack High School, Peter Petrigno, expressed that he wanted to come and watch the state finals to “support his constituents” of Milford High School. Former NH State Representative of Hillsborough County, District 23, Milford, Carolyn Halstead, has been involved in the “We The People” program over several years and has had the foreign exchange students she hosts enroll in the class at Milford High School. The Former State Rep said “The “We The People” program inspired her to run for office” and “[“We The People”] is the best class in the school, and has the best teacher!”

Prior to announcing the winners of the competition, Attorney Howard J. Zibel, who has volunteered with the program for more than three decades, explained the history of the program to the audience of students and teachers that the start the program, 33 years ago, was as a National Bicentennial Constitution, Bill of Rights Competition in 1987-88’.

Attorney Jennifer Eber, Chair of the Law Related Education Committee of the New Hampshire Bar Association, expressed her congratulations to all the students for their great work in this state finals event stating “I am inspired by what you do”, during the award ceremony.

Students from Milford High School, under the direction of teacher Dave Alcox, included, Lauren Auger, Elaine Danas, Jade, De Leon, Jillian Dube, Abby Forrence, Matt Hannon, Jack Hansen, Jordan King, Nazarii Klymok, Paige Long, Brian Meldrum, Cameron Mitchell, Mackenzie O’Connor, James Oprey, Katherine Raiano, Sophia Renda, Noah Santos, and Veronica Sillerico, and received the runner-up trophy.

John Stark High School, under the direction of teacher Dan Marcus, included, Quinn Antle, Victoria Bulcock, Nathan Chasse, Andra Dagenais, Victoria Drake, Avery Forrestall, Delaney Forrestall, Jacob Earside, Margaret Giarardet, Lauren Guerrette, Julian Henry, Hailey McKillop, Brianna Meisser, Jessica Nitzschke,  Stephanie Rodonis, and Carson Woodward, placed third in the state finals.

There was a very close, 16 point or 1% difference between the runner-up, Milford High School, and third place, John Stark High School. The three schools had advanced to the state finals following the district hearings held in December 2019.

The award ceremony included remarks from New Hampshire Bar Association President Attorney Edward D. Philpot Jr. thanking the 22 busy, practicing attorneys, Superior Court Judge Martin P. Honigberg, NHBA associates, and NHBA Law Related Education Coordinator, Robin E. Knippers for their support and coordination of this event. Also volunteering their time were NHPR’s Civics 101 podcast, producers Nick Capodice and Hannah McCarthy served as judges and timers.

If you are interested in your high school adopting this “fantastic” program contact the NHBA’s Law Related Education Coordinator, Robin E. Knippers at reknippers@nhbar.org or call (603) 224-6942 Ext. 3259.

Contact: Kailah Millen
Telephone: (603) 715-3229
Email: kmillen@nhbar.org
Website: www.nhbar.org

State Champions
State Champions: Hollis Brookline High School
Runner-up: Milford High School
Runner-up: Milford High School
Third Place: John Stark High School
Third Place: John Stark High School