'We The People' students to witness naturalization ceremony

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As part of a three-day program that includes state finals for a civics competition that the Indiana Bar Foundation oversees, students will witness a naturalization ceremony this evening in downtown Indianapolis.

Students from around the state who have been studying the U.S. Constitution this semester traveled to Indianapolis for the We The People mock congressional hearings competition. The competition for high school students started Sunday and wraps up today; the middle school portion of the competition takes place Tuesday.

As part of the high school competition’s closing ceremony and awards presentation, which begins at 5:15 p.m. today, students will witness about 40 immigrants from 22 different countries become U.S. citizens. U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney will officiate at Union Station in Indianapolis, where the competition has been taking place.

“These students are really just learning to become citizens themselves,” said Erin Braun, state director for We The People, in a statement. “This is their first time studying the Constitution and their rights and responsibilities. Witnessing the naturalization ceremony will help them understand what a privilege it is to be an American citizen.”

For the mock congressional hearings, teams play the role of expert witnesses on topics that are based on six units of study. Panels of judges, often including lawyers and other members of the legal community, play the part of congressional representatives and score the students on a variety of factors.

Following this month’s competition, the winning team will represent Indiana in Washington, D.C., at the national competition in April 2011. Since the program moved to the IBF, the winner of the Indiana finals has placed in the top 10 five of the last six years. The winner of Indiana’s competition in December 2009, a team from Munster High School, placed eighth in the nation in April.

Congress will fund the We The People curriculum for any school that would like to participate. For the last few years, the IBF budgeted for three dedicated staff members to help teachers and volunteers as needed, as well as organize institutes about the program for new and returning teachers and help with competitions on the local and state level.

Earlier this year, the IBF announced it would restructure its We The People program to comprise one dedicated IBF staff member with assistance from other staff as needed. As a result, starting next year, volunteers will be expected to take on more responsibility, and the IBF staff will focus efforts more on experienced teachers as opposed to cultivating new teachers. The IBF is also seeking volunteers to prepare the Indiana team for the national competition and to work with schools in their congressional districts leading up to next year’s regional and state finals.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.