by Bergen Eppers
Exploring the meaning behind the definition of “We the People” in our declaration, this year’s AP Government class decided to take part in the Center for Civic Education’s program, “We the People.” Offered as a new learning opportunity by Mrs. Snowden, this program is a way to learn and experience government in a real sense and how the Constitution plays a part in the modern world.
“The Center for Civic Education partners with a network of 50 states civics, government, and law programs,” according to Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools The Bridge,”[They are] sponsored by state bar associations and foundations, colleges and universities, and other civic and law nonprofit organizations to promote teaching and learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights.” Thursday, January 27, the students participated in mock congressional hearings and had to defend their positions as a team coming up with responses to questions and situations, all judged by members of law community, professors, and members of government. “Preparing was hard work,” says senior member, CJ Destefani,”We were given our questions and worked through [our responses] with our group members and Mrs. Snowden, and we rehearsed….It was exhausting honestly.”
After many hours of research, drafting, and revising, their memorization and practices all payed off. Up against 10 or 11 other schools, BHS came on top beating the 14 year champion, Findley High School. “We [were] strong…Everyone added into each other, other groups sometimes picking up on strategies, and keywords to use with the judges. It was a really cool, exciting day. On the bus ride home, [when] we received information that we had in fact won, the bus went nuts.”
Now, the BHS Constitutional Team is preparing to participate in the 30th Anniversary National Finals in Washington, D.C in April. Fundraisers are all around the school to support their big trip, from t-shirts to raffle tickets for playlist suggestions. Any donation is helpful. According to Destefani, “[WTP] is a great way to learn about [government] and to interact with government officials. It is an honor to represent my school, and now my state at the national level.” As Jim Bentley said, “It’s not just about ‘knowledge,’ it’s about providing students with the skills and the attitude that THEY are the ‘people’ in ‘WE THE PEOPLE!’ “