February 14, 2013

Kahuku High School Successfully Defends “We The People” Title

HONOLULU – Kahuku High School is heading to Washington, D.C. for the second straight year after winning the Hawaii We the People competition. The We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students.
Kahuku H.S. teacher Jan Harney’s team consists of 14 seniors and one junior, each of whom is a first-time participant. National rules specify that students can enter only once.

Ms. Harney says, “I’m always impressed by what these students can do. This challenging program not only gives them the opportunity to know their government better, but develops critical thinking, speaking, researching and team-building skills that they’ll use throughout their lives.”

Preparation for the state-level competition started on the first day of school when the team began to read We the People the Citizen and the Constitution textbooks, followed by extensive research. The Feb. 2 state finals held at Circuit Court in Honolulu involved the presentation of a four-minute essay, read to judges, followed by a six-minute question-and-answer period. The national competition is scheduled for April 26-29 at George Mason University and hearing rooms on Capitol Hill. En route to its state championship, Kahuku High bested teams from both public and private high schools.

In past years, the national competition has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education by Act of Congress; however Congressional funding for the national finals was eliminated. The Kahuku team will be holding a series of fundraisers, including a silent auction planned for March 9 at Sunset Beach Elementary. The team is also planning a “Zumba Night” at Kahuku High’s gym to help defray costs of the team trip. Donations are also being accepted and can be made payable to Kahuku High School (write “We the People Team” in the memo) at 56-490 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, HI 96731.

“I love the We the People program; I’ve seen the impact that it has on students as they prepare for their responsibilities as citizens in our constitutional democracy,” said Sandra Cashman, We the People state coordinator.

Among the many topics covered by We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution textbooks are the historical and philosophical basis of the Constitution and its evolution throughout history with application to current issues. Since its inception in 1987, more than 30 million students and 90,000 teachers have participated in this course of study. More information about the program can be found at http://new.civiced.org/.

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Donalyn Dela Cruz
Director of Communications
Phone: (808) 586-3232
E-mail: donalyn_dela_cruz@notes.k12.hi.us