Kelly Walsh High School We the People Program wins Best in State
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - On Jan. 24, five Kelly Walsh High School students participated in the state-wide We the People Competition.
“So basically, it’s just a way for us to get a really rich civic education and learn a lot about how the Constitution and how the Supreme Court decisions affect our life today,” said Kelly Walsh We the People member Sebastian Koehmstedt.
The competition was hosted in Cheyenne and was directed by the Center for Civic Education. Originally, it was supposed to take place in December, but was pushed back. Judges for the event included teachers, political figures, and Wyoming Supreme Court Justices.
“You have to have a really deep understanding of the Constitution, and then you sit in front of judges and read a position paper, and then they give you feedback and they ask you questions. You get to be constitutional scholars, that’s really it,” said Kelly Walsh We the People member Tessa Slaten.
Eleven schools participated in the competition. Students answered questions relating to specific constitutional subjects, called units at the competition.
“So there’s six units, each with multiple questions. Two of which we were... we presented,” said Kelly Walsh We the People member Nathan Hamilton.
The Kelly Walsh team only presented for Units Four and Five, many of the other schools competed in all six units. The team answered questions about privacy rights, voting rights, and freedom of speech. The Kelly Walsh program was awarded Best in State for its Unit Five presentation.
“We only did two units and we won best unit for one of them. All the other schools did six units,” said Koehmstedt.
The students began preparing for the competition in October by studying court cases and other sources. They prepared answers for questions from all six units, despite only competing in two.
“Just the knowledge that you gain about civics and how the government works is really important, and should not go understated,” said Hamilton.
The Kelly Walsh team recognized that learning about the constitution and civics would help them to be more informed voters and members of society in the future.
“I can’t speak for everyone but I feel like it definitely gave us a lot of basic civic understanding that we’re going to need, considering we’re about to be the voting age and we’re about to become part of our government,” said Slaten.
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