Jan. 26, 2017
Is Congress the most important link between the American people and their national government? What is the value of the dissenting opinion in American jurisprudence? Why did Congress think it was necessary to pass the Voting Rights Act?
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 to be held January 27 at the Ohio Statehouse.
More than 300 Ohio students from 11 schools will participate: Archbold High School (Fulton County), Ayersville High School (Defiance County), Bellbrook High School (Greene County), Findlay High School (Hancock County), Leaves of Learning (Hamilton County), Ravenna High School (Portage County), Strongsville High School (Cuyahoga County), Van Wert High School (Van Wert County), Washington High School (Fayette County), and West Carrollton High School (Montgomery County). An additional participating class is composed of high school students involved in the Law & Leadership Institute (LLI) based at the University of Cincinnati site.
"We the People allows our students to put their academic talents on display. Students are motivated by this element of competition to learn more, challenge each other, and connect with the content unlike any other way," said Andrea Oyer, teacher at Archbold 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.
"These students really have an in-depth understanding of our government and the principles of American democracy. They understand their roles as citizens and are ready to formulate and defend their own thoughts and ideas. Ohio's future is bright with these young people ready to take the helm," said Tim Kalgreen, We the People program coordinator for OCLRE.
The winning class will represent Ohio in the We the People National Finals to be held April 21-25 in Washington, D.C.
We the People is administered by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE), and is a national program of the Center for Civic Education. The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education 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, the 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 www.oclre.org.
The Law & Leadership Institute, LLC (LLI) is a statewide initiative in collaboration with the legal community that inspires high school students, primarily from urban public school districts, for post-secondary and professional success through a comprehensive four-year academic program in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills and professionalism. For more information visit lawandleadership.org.