Westminster Christian Academy Wins Statewide “We the People” Contest

Missouri High School Students Display their Constitutional Knowledge in Mock Hearings

Jefferson City, MO – Nearly 60 students, representing four high schools in Missouri, today competed in The Missouri Bar sponsored “We the People” statewide simulated congressional hearings held at the Missouri State Capitol. Westminster Christian Academy of St. Louis won the honor of representing Missouri at the national “We the People” competition to be held April 25-28, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

“We the People” is a nationally acclaimed civic education program helping students understand the history, philosophies and evolution of our constitutional government. Upon completion of the classroom study, students compete in the form of simulated congressional hearings.

Students demonstrated their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and our system of government in mock hearings, where they testified about and discussed issues such as the importance of an informed and engaged citizenry, constitutional rights and the amendment process. A panel of judges, compiled of lawyers, judges, educators and political scientists, evaluated the students’ knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Bo Thomas and Ben Linxwiller, senior high school students from Westminster Christian Academy, said they appreciate studying the U.S. Constitution and they would encourage others to learn more about the U.S. Constitution.

“My understanding of government, government function and theory was very limited. But after this, I have enriched my knowledge of this subject,” Thomas said. “My interest is also piqued as to like how government functions play out in theory and how they play out in reality. I find myself much more interested in politics and what’s actually going on that influences voters and public citizens.”

Linxwiller said through the “We the People” competition he has gained “a sense of duty and a deep understanding of what principles our government was founded on, what the history was like, how it is related to the modern day and what responsibilities are put on us.”

“James Madison stated in The Federalists Papers that the only way that the system of government that the framers envisioned in the Constitution would prevail was for the citizenry to be educated,” Millie Aulbur, director of Citizenship Education for The Missouri Bar said. “James Madison and his fellow framers would have been quite pleased with Missouri’s ‘We the People’ students. These students and their teachers have worked diligently to come to a deep understanding of our system of government and it was aptly demonstrated today.”

Students representing Westminster Christian Academy of St. Louis were: Carson Burke, Joanna Disch, Anna Evans, Megan Galvin, Steven Howell, Julia Johnson, Juhyae Kim, Ben Linxwiller, Austin Mathai, Christian Meeks, Thomas Meyer, Madison Stoecker, Stephanie Strothka, Kevin Stump, Josh Sumner, Blake Sutphen, Chrissy Talent, Bo Thomas, Rachel Urban, Jacob Waller and Tripp Worley.

Participating schools this year include Center High School from Kansas City, Joplin High School, Nixa High School and Westminster Christian Academy from St. Louis. Westminster Christian Academy and Joplin High School both advanced to nationals in 2014.

The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section and the Missouri Bar Foundation fund the statewide hearings covering the cost of transportation, lodging and food for all participants.
The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program has served as the state coordinator for the program since 1999. Until 2011, the program was funded by Congress. The Missouri Bar Foundation now provides additional funding to support the program throughout Missouri. Simulated congressional hearings are held locally across the state in Grades 5-12.

For more photos of the event, please click here.

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