CONTACT: Jennifer Blackman, Executive Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Maine South High School Wins Illinois Title in
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Competition
Maine South High School’s team took first place prize in the Illinois Center for Civic Education’s We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Finals on Friday, December 11, 2015. Led by teacher Andrew Trenkle, Maine South’s team moves on to the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals, to be held April 22-25, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
In Trenkle’s 11th year coaching the Maine South team, he sees differences in every class. “There were a lot of unique and challenging current events this year, and my students deserve great credit in following them and applying them to the questions,” Trenkle said.
Evanston Township High School (Teacher: David Feeley) placed second, and Thornton Township High School (Teacher: Joe Janowiak) placed third.
During the day-long competition, students demonstrated their knowledge of the Constitution before a simulated congressional hearing committee consisting of constitutional scholars, lawyers, government leaders, and civic educators who judged the classes’ performances.
Each class is divided into six groups, corresponding with the six units in the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution text. Each group makes a four-minute presentation, followed by six minutes of questioning by judges probing students on their depth of understanding. Students were challenged to relate the principles set forth in the Constitution to current events and existing interpretation of the law.
President Barak Obama recently signed into law the “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)” that now includes civics and government in its list of courses, activities and programming changes in the American History and Civics portion of the law. Trenkle praises the We the People text and competition for fostering civic education.
“We the People is absolutely the best program around. I can't recommend it more highly. There is nothing else like it,” Trenkle says. He credits the curriculum for developing a life-long love of the Constitution and allowing his students to take the understanding and experience into college and beyond.
Other participating schools included:
Illiana Christian High School, Lansing, Teacher: Jeff White
John Hancock College Prep High School, Chicago, Teacher: Andrew Martinek
Waukegan High School, Waukegan, Teacher: John Franco
Implemented nationwide in upper elementary, middle, and high schools, the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program has reached more than 30 million students and 90,000 teachers since its inception in 1987. The program is funded by The McCormick Foundation and the Center for Civic Education.