Two Indiana high schools and one middle school have the opportunity to show the country that Hoosiers can do more than shoot hoops. Teams from the three schools have qualified for the national 2013 We The People competition and will be able to match their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution against teams from other schools around the United States.
The winners were crowned during the state finals, held Dec. 17 through 19 in Indianapolis. More than 600 middle school and high school students from across the state answered questions about the constitution and democracy during the intense competition.
Panels of judges, which included lawyers, judges and business professionals, asked the students questions then scored their answers based on their knowledge and understanding of the founding principles.
Cathedral High School, Indianapolis, won the state high school competition. Plainfield High School, Plainfield, captured second place and Munster High School, Munster, came in third.
Brown County Junior High School, Nashville, won the middle school competition.
Indiana received a wildcard berth for 2013 so it can send the top two high school teams to Washington, D.C., in April for the national competition. If the schools can raise the money – about $1,100 to $1,400 per student – both Cathedral and Plainfield could be representing Indiana.
Also, 2013 will be the first year the We The People program is holding a national competition for middle schools. Brown County has indicated it intends to raise the funds to send its team to Washington, D.C., in May.
The annual event is organized in Indiana by the Indiana Bar Foundation. Charles Dunlap, executive director of the IBF, said the students were an inspiration. They were excited to be at the state finals and (like many basketball fans) did a lot of screaming when the winners were announced.
“It was great to see that excitement about a civics and constitution competition,” Dunlap said. “They put so much work in, build camaraderie and establish great relationships with teachers. It’s a great bonding activity for students.”