Students will demonstrate constitutional knowledge at State Showcase

Contact: Kate Strickland
OCLRE Executive Director
kstrickland@oclre.org; (614) 485-3501

COLUMBUS (May 16, 2017) - As the end of the school year approaches, most students are thinking about their summer plans. But more than 150 Ohio middle school students remain focused on academics, having spent the last few months studying and preparing for the Ohio Middle School We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Showcase, which will take place May 17 on the campus of Columbus State Community College.

Students from the following schools will participate in the state showcase: Columbiana South Side Middle School (Columbiana County), Columbus East High School (Franklin County), Gahanna Middle School South (Franklin County), Middleburg Heights Junior High School (Cuyahoga County), Sycamore Junior High School (Hamilton County), and Trotwood-Madison Middle School (Montgomery County). 

We the People, a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE), gives students a unique opportunity to participate in simulated congressional hearings. Students showcase their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles by evaluating, presenting and defending positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. After providing a prepared answer to the competition questions, students answer follow-up questions from judges including college professors, judges, attorneys, and other community leaders.

Among the questions students will tackle: How does the right to due process of law protect an individual’s right to life, liberty, and property? What are the characteristics that a constitution or higher law should have and why are these characteristics essential to the protection of our natural rights?

“These students really become young constitutional scholars. They gain an in-depth understanding of the history and application of the U.S Constitution. It’s remarkable to listen to them engage in discussions and debate the Constitution at such a high level,” said program coordinator, Tim Kalgreen.

Middleburg Heights teacher Robin Lashley, Trotwood-Madison teacher Jessica Parker, and Columbus East teacher Jordan Masterson, were participants in the 2016-17 James Madison Legacy Project, a federally-funded grant program that supports teacher training in the content and implementation of the We the People curriculum.
 
Lashley encourages other teachers to get involved with the program. “I highly recommend your involvement in We the People and hope that this program grows to become part of every student’s education as they prepare to become involved citizens. Seeing the learning and high level discussions that are occurring among my students is truly rewarding.”

We the People is administered in Ohio by OCLRE and nationally by the Center for Civic Education. OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal 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 on OCLRE, please visit www.oclre.org.


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