Kudos to two Richmond-area schools — the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School and Douglas S. Freeman High School — for their superb performance at this year’s annual We the People competition. Fifty-six teams that made it through districts and regionals competed in the nationals. Maggie Walker, a perennial powerhouse, scored 2nd while upstart Freeman scored 3rd. Grant High School from Oregon came in 1st.
Four-student teams get a multi-faceted topic relating to the U.S. Constitution that could range from the Dred Scott case to the Magna Carta. After having time for research and analysis, they sit across from three judges who engage in a lively Q&A.
Students spent hundreds of hours prepping for the event. As one participant, Carson Whitehurst, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Read a lot. Specifically, the Constitution, court cases, the Federalist and anti-Federalist papers, and anything we could find from scholars or anything related to our question.”
As late-night show comedians frequently remind us with their laughably sad man-on-the-street interviews, civic ignorance is rampant in the United States. It is reassuring to see that in the state whose leading citizens articulated key Constitutional principles more than 200 years ago — James Madison, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson — at least at least a few young people are learning the philosophical underpinnings of our system of governance.
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