Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 6, 2011

Civics team second in the nation

Top 10 schools compete in congressional hearing rooms on Capitol Hill

by Jeb Bing

Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) met with the Amador Valley High School advanced civics team Tuesday on the steps of the Capitol to praise the students for their accomplishments in the 2011 "We the People" national competition.

After three days of simulated congressional hearings that tested their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Amador students captured second place at the 24th annual "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" national finals last night in Washington, D.C.

Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies of Richmond, Va., won first place.

"The 'We the People' competition requires hard work, strong commitment and dedicated study of our Constitution and Bill of Rights," McNerney told the Tuesday. "Once again, students from our community rose to the challenge and led the way at the nationwide competition."

It was the 10th time that Amador topped all other California teams in statewide competitions earlier this year and won the honor of representing the state in the national competition. The school fielded teams in the nationals in 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 1995, Amador won the national championship.

We the People civics classes representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands came to the nation's capital to participate in the academic competition.

The competition results were announced at an awards banquet Monday evening before an audience of 1,500 students, teachers, coordinators, judges and other program participants.

During the competition, students demonstrated their knowledge of the Constitution before simulated congressional committees made up of state Supreme Court judges, constitutional scholars, lawyers, public officials and We the People alumni. The first rounds of the hearings took place last Saturday, and then continued into Sunday. The top 10 schools competed in actual congressional hearing rooms on Capitol Hill.

This year's other winners are East Brunswick High School, East Brunswick, N.J, finishing in third place; Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Ala., fourth place; East Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Mich., fifth; Denver East High School, Denver, Colo., sixth; Grant High School, Portland, Ore., seventh; Northwest Guilford High School, Greensboro, N.C., eighth; Maine South High School, Park Ridge, Ill., ninth; and Munster High School, Munster, Ind., finishing in tenth place.

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