Students to show off civic savvy at Statehouse competition


Contact: Kate Strickland                
OCLRE Executive Director; 614-485-3510 
COLUMBUS (Jan. 31, 2018) – What were the major philosophical principles that influenced the debates over representation at the Constitutional Convention? How have the role and powers of the U.S. Supreme Court evolved since the founding period? How has the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizures changed throughout American history?    
These are a few of the questions high school students from across the state have been preparing to answer at the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution state competition Feb. 2 at the Ohio Statehouse.     
Nearly 200 Ohio students from seven schools will participate: Archbold High School (Fulton County), Ayersville High School (Defiance County), Bellbrook High School (Greene County), Findlay High School (Hancock County), Ravenna High School (Portage County), Washington High School (Fayette County), and West Carrollton High School (Montgomery County).    
“This program allows students to get out of their comfort zone and really put forth the effort to make themselves look and sound presentable and knowledgeable about the U.S. Constitution,” said Courtney Reiner, teacher at Ayersville 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.    
For the first time in Ohio’s We the People history, Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) wrote a special question for the students to tackle based on the Ohio Constitution. The question asks the students to grapple with the fact education is not a fundamental right via the U.S. Constitution, but is guaranteed to Ohioans under the Ohio Constitution.   
“It’s important Ohio’s students understand the Ohio Constitution,” said Tim Kalgreen, We the People program coordinator for OCLRE. “Understanding Ohio government is as important as understanding our federal government. These students are taking an in-depth look at the Ohio Constitution and state laws, preparing them to be better Ohio citizens, as well as American citizens.”  
The winning class will represent Ohio at the We the People National Finals to be held April 27 – May 1 in Washington, D.C.  
We the People is administered in Ohio by the OCLRE, and is a national program of the Center for Civic Education. OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation. In Ohio, We the People is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information please visit




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