Civics team headed to D.C

Prom weekend plans have changed for some St. Joseph-Ogden Civics students.
For the second year in a row, St. Joseph-Ogden placed second in the state We the People Constitution Contest at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. Unlike last year they did not receive a wild card bid to the national contest in Washington D.C.
So they thought.
Advisor Marshall Schacht said he received news recently that SJO had been given another wild card opportunity.
“This year the second place teams from other states were offered the chance to attend, but for some reason declined,” he said. “We received notification from the Illinois Center for Civic Education that we were invited and have chosen to accept despite the short turn around for fundraising and the sacrifices that the students must make during the end of their senior year.”
Those sacrifices include being in Washington D.C. April 27-May 1, the weekend of SJO’s prom.
Schacht when he and co-advisor Don Beckett found out the team was invited to nationals they were thrilled to experience the trip and contest again with new seniors.  However, upon realizing the contest took place on Prom weekend they were sure the seniors wouldn’t want to go.
They couldn’t have been more wrong.
“I underestimated our students and their genuine interest in government and the Constitution,”  Schacht said.  “Many of them did not hesitate, while others weighed the pros and cons and decided that they could not miss the thrill of a congressional hearing competition again but this time on the national level.”
This year the school is sending a smaller team which means the students will have to double up on the units, preparing six essays and understanding complex issues, supreme court decisions and current events.
“These students have their work cut out for them,” Schacht said.
Not only do the students have to prepare for the competition but the group needs to fundraise in order to pay for the trip.
Each student needs to pay $1,500 to attend the contest.
“In an ideal world, they would not need to fundraise, but could just focus on learning intricacies about the Constitution,” Schacht said.
The cost includes airfare, charter bus, hotel for four nights, all meals, guides and entry into various sites.
Once in Washington D.C. the students don’t pay for anything unless they want souvenirs.
“The competition is of course the highlight,but being in the capital and  meeting students and teachers from around the country makes this an amazing experience for all involved,” Schacht said.
Schacht and Beckett have two fundraising activities in the works.
The first is a Dinner and Bingo Night that will be held March 16 or 17.
In addition to rounds of traditional bingo cards, they will have rounds that will employ trivia-based cards as well.
The second is a Rail Trail Run on April 14 as a tune up for the C-U Marathon.
Participants will run from St. Joseph to the Wal-Mart in Urbana where refreshments and a bus return will be available.
Those wanting to run a 1/2 marathon can run back to St. Joseph. There will also be a 5K option.
Schacht said he is proud of the students who are participating.
“They have taken on the challenge of competing for a national championship and I could not be more proud,” he said. “Last year two wild cards finished in the top ten and we want to earn that distinction this year.”
Schacht said the wild card bids are so more teams can participate in the finals.
“The National Center for Civic Education realized that many states, like Illinois, are dominated by traditional powerhouses like Maine South,” he said. “No other schools were getting to experience the excitement of nationals.”
The contest is sponsored by The Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries.
To prepare for the contest, the civics students participated in a dress rehearsal in early December at the University of Illinois Law School.
All of the candidates circuit judge served as judges for each of the six unit groups as they took their questions out for a trial run in the congressional hearing format.
During the contest students are asked questions regarding  the constitution and are asked to testify as constitutional experts.
Students are scored on how well they demonstrate their comprehension of the various historical and  contemporary issues associated with each question, including the main question, subquestions, and  judges’ followup questions, how students demonstrate their knowledge of the history and principles of the Constitution, if students’ arguments reflect logical and critical thinking and if they can provide examples and supporting evidence.
They are also judged on responsiveness to the questions and if students fully address the main question, subquestions, and judges’ follow-up questions.
They are also judged on group participation.
Participants included Laney Menees, Mason Housenga, Corynne Roberts, Abbey Mizer, Nick Cagle, Allie Place, Christian Ribbe, Mark Maddock, John Acklin, Lexi Manning, Camryn McKee, Cassie Monk, Madeline DeJarnette, Nathan Scheule, Sarah Acklin, Alita Bachman, Molly Leichty, Skyler Price, Annalise Fritz, Miranda Hahn and Zea Maroon.




Interested in donating?
Checks can be made out to St. Joseph-Ogden High School (memo: We the People 2018). 
Those can be sent to the school (301 N. Main) c/o Marshall Schacht or dropped off at the
office.  In kind donations from local businesses will be sold or raffled off at one of our fundraising events.
 

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DarlaMathis wrote on February 17, 2018 at 7:02 am

Oh! How sad for second consequent year the prom plans of St, Joseph has been postponed. Long back I had written an article about the grand prom night of St. Joseph in my 

australian writings reviews. Thank you for this information. I wish it was about the start of the prom week. Better luck next time.

aivivu wrote on February 22, 2018 at 7:02 pm
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Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences. buổi tối ở đà lạt nên đi đâu

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