Students Showcase Constitutional Knowledge
After months of studying and preparing, approximately 150 students are ready to compete at the Ohio Middle School We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Showcase on May 13.
We the People, a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE), gives students a unique opportunity to participate in simulated congressional hearings. Students showcase their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles by evaluating, presenting, and defending positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. After providing a prepared answer to the competition questions, students answer follow-up questions from the showcase judges, who are college professors, judges, attorneys, and other community leaders.
Taking place on the campus of Columbus State Community College, this year’s showcase will feature students from Dominion Middle School (Franklin County), Harvest Preparatory School (Franklin County), Ravenna High School (Portage County), and Sycamore Junior High School (Hamilton County).
Among the questions students will tackle: In what ways might social media and the World Wide Web expand the possibilities for participatory citizenship? Why have First Amendment rights been viewed as essential to the functioning of a free society?
“These students really become young constitutional scholars. They gain an in-depth understanding of the history and application of the U.S. Constitution. It’s remarkable to listen to them engage in discussions and debate the Constitution at such a high level,” Program Coordinator Tim Kalgreen said.
OCLRE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Ohio Supreme Court, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation.