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High School Students Showcase Constitutional Knowledge in State Competition

COLUMBUS (Jan. 26, 2015) – It’s one thing to study the U.S. Constitution in school.  It’s another to debate it with college professors, county common pleas court judges, and state legislators.  Yet, that’s exactly what nearly 150 high school students accomplished at the 2015 We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution state competition, a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE).

On Friday, January 23, students from high schools around the state came to the Ohio Statehouse to participate in the We the People competition.  These students have been studying the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as these documents’ history, philosophies and application for the last several months.   The competition takes the form of simulated Congressional hearings, where the students demonstrate their understanding and comprehension of constitutional issues to the panels of judges.  Students provide prepared responses to a question based on a constitutional issue.  Judges then ask follow-up questions to further examine the students’ knowledge of the topic. 

This year’s state champion is Findlay High School (Hancock County).  Findlay will represent the Buckeye State at the We the People National Finals, to be held April 24-28 at George Mason University, outside Washington DC. 

“More than just demonstrating their understanding of the basics, these students showed that they really grasp the depth and complexity of the Constitution and its application to historical and current issues,” said Lisa Eschleman, OCLRE’s executive director.  “They showed amazing poise and skill when discussing these topics with the judges.” 

Other participating schools included: Archbold High School (Fulton County), Bishop Hartley High School (Franklin County), Northmont High School (Montgomery County), Van Wert High School (Van Wert County), and West Carrollton High School (Montgomery County). Students from the Law & Leadership Institute’s Dayton and Cincinnati sites also participated.

OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation.  In Ohio, We the People is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation.  For more information on OCLRE, please visit www.oclre.org.

The Law & Leadership Institute, LLC (LLI) is a statewide initiative in collaboration with the legal community that inspires high school students, primarily from urban public school districts, for post-secondary and professional success through a comprehensive four year academic program in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills and professionalism. For more information visit lawandleadership.org. 

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