Law professors, judges, government representatives, lawyers and educators interrogated local middle school students from Rachel Carson Middle School this past weekend for the final We the People Civics and Constitutional law national championships.
The judges asked a range of challenging questions to these precocious middle school students. They asked about building a wall on the border of Mexico, the propriety of individuals with dual citizenship, whether there should be a ranking system for immigrants, if the president and executive branch have too much power and whether the framers, if they could come back in modern times, would make any changes to the Constitution. To ask 12 and 13-year-olds these tough questions is astounding and yet the Rachel Carson Middle School students handled these questions with poise, intelligence and confidence.
Many of the students’ parents arrived in the U.S. only recently, and for some, English is not the primary language spoken at home. Nevertheless, their mastery of the U.S. Constitution, understanding of our form of government, as well as an appreciation for current events makes them a force to be reckoned with. That is why, for the fifth year in a row, they are in the “final four.”
Volunteer coach Doug Landau, the attorney at Abrams Landau, Ltd., attended all the presentations on Saturday and after his triathlon on Sunday morning, he was at all of the sessions filled with encouragement and praise for his hardworking charges. He has also been there for his students all day yesterday—the final day of the four-day national competition.
Landau was also able to finally meet many of the parents, who could not take off time from work in order to volunteer during the school day or attend other competitions. “The pride on the parents’ faces from their son or daughter having made it this far was wonderful to behold. In addition, there were ‘alumni’ from my past classes who are now in high school or college who came up to tell me how wonderful their experience was with We the People competitions and studies,” said Landau.
This is attorney Landau’s fifth year assisting Cynthia Burgett’s middle school class in these endeavors. He notes that he learns enormously every year from these bright, inquisitive and hardworking public school students.
Stay tuned to see how they end up in the final four competition!