“We The People” aims to prepare students for active citizenship through civil discourse. With an immersive dive into constitutional issues, students actively engage in a way that helps them understand the importance of civil discourse and problem-solving on local and national issues. Sache Hadley, a member of the KWHS “We the People” competition team, believes the experience provides students the opportunity to become more informed citizens, “I feel like in today’s society, most people don’t understand the Constitution and make empty claims about what is and isn’t Constitutional. By doing We the People, I have gotten a greater understanding of both my Constitutional rights and the importance of history.”
Students begin preparing for the competition in September, working through assigned units while also focusing on expanding their knowledge through in-depth research using primary sources to support their intended position paper. Questions presented to the students for their research and analysis range from the historical foundations of the Constitution to current issues challenging democracy in the 21st century.
As a collective KWHS team, students prepare written statements that include substantial evidence and support from historical documents such as the Federalist Papers, citations of Supreme Court cases, quotes from the founders, and relatable connections to current issues. In the culminating event, students showcase their exceptional skills and knowledge by presenting their position papers and research to a panel of judges, many of who are experts in the field.
“I had an amazing experience at We The People this year. It was amazing to see so many people dedicate that much time and energy into the study of the Constitution and becoming better US citizens,” shared Lydia Harris, KWHS “We the People” team member. “I learned so much and have a better understanding of my state and national government. I am very thankful for the opportunity We The People provided and to all the judges and staff that made it possible.”
Paula Volker, KWHS Social Studies teacher, shares her admiration for the exceptional work of her students throughout the process, especially in the final competition, “Seeing students engage with the judges in conversations at such a high level of understanding of constitutional issues is one of my favorite moments. Students present in the committee hearing rooms at the state capitol just as in an actual congressional hearing. It is truly impressive to see their growth over the two months after intense research, writing and editing, and practice. They are nervous, and yet because they have such in-depth understanding, they always shine.”
Congratulations, students, on your tremendous achievement!