East and West "We the People" teams advance to national competition
(Pictured: East and West We the People teams following the 2019 State competition.)
For the second consecutive year, both Wauwatosa public high schools have earned a trip to the national “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition to be held in Washington D.C. April 26-29, 2019.
West and East High Schools advanced by taking first and second place at the State competition on January 5 in Madison. West’s team edged out East’s by seven points at State to make its 12th consecutive appearance at nationals.
"The competition was the closest finish I have seen in the 12 years I have been at West. Out of 2,100 some points you could earn, we beat East by only 7 total points. So it was crazy close," said Chad Mateske, social studies teacher at West High School and team coach. "These kids worked really hard to win this year and they are in for a treat as we prepare for the new rounds of questions that will be released as well as the experience of competing in a national competition and touring the nation's Capital seeing many places or concepts that we have studied."
This year will be the third of the past four years that East High School's team has competed at the national level.
“I am excited for the students to get this opportunity to travel to and visit Washington D.C. and that they get another chance to compete and show how strong of a program that Wauwatosa East (and Wauwatosa overall) has,” said Dan McHugh, team coach and social studies teacher at Wauwatosa East.
Wauwatosa’s students will be among approximately 1,200 students from 56 high schools from across the country competing in more than 700 simulated congressional hearings to demonstrate their superior knowledge of the U.S. government and Constitution.
The Center for Civic Education’s “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” Program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. During the National Finals, students will participate in a simulated congressional hearing where students “testify” as congressional experts before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress. Each hearing begins with a four-minute opening statement by students and is followed by a six-minute period of follow-up questioning during which judges probe students' depth of knowledge, understanding, and their ability to apply constitutional principles.
In addition to preparing for a new round of questions for the national competition, both Wauwatosa teams will need to raise $70,000 each to cover as much of the trip cost as possible for each 28-person team and their teaching assistants. Additional information will be forthcoming about the fundraising efforts.
Since 1987 over 33,000 students and 1,000 teachers have participated in the National Finals. To learn more about the program, click HERE.
Curious about the types of questions the students will face at the national competition? View previous years’ national competition questions HERE.