Friday, May 18, 2012

Marshwood Students Win Accolades at National Championships

On April 27, students from Marshwood High School traveled to Washington, D.C.,and represented Maine in the 25th annual We the People: The Citizen
and the Constitution national championship. About 1,400 high school students from forty-seven states and the District of Columbia participated in the highly prestigious academic competition on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
After two days of rigorous competition, Marshwood’s Unit Six team of Isabella Burke, Catherine Pouliot and Samantha Silver were awarded honors for being the top team in the nation for Unit 6. Marshwood students studied for months to prepare for their role as experts testifying on constitutional issues in a simulated congressional hearing. To represent Maine at the national finals, the class won the state competition held in Portland on February 3.  This marked the fourth straight state title for Marshwood.
 “To win the state championship is quite difficult and to win a unit award at the National championships is an amazing achievement,” said Matt Sanzone, the social studies teacher who coaches the Marshwood team.  “We’ve been to nationals five times, but this is the first year one of our teams won an award.  Isa, Kate and Sam are extremely talented and bright students who spent countless hours doing research and preparation.  They performed at an elite level,” said Sanzone.  Perhaps the most impressive aspect of these students’ accomplishment is the fact that they competed in two separate units due to Marshwood’s team size.  “We only had twelve students at nationals, so six of our kids had to do two units each.  Competition rules require three students on each of the six unit teams,” noted Sanzone.
“It is always a tremendous honor to represent our state at Nationals,” said Sanzone. All six, unit teams displayed outstanding knowledge of their topics and demonstrated poise in the face of some challenging questions. I am so proud of each and every one of them.”  Students who represented Marshwood at the National Finals were: Unit 1 (What are the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system?) Adam Bryant, Trenor Colby and Jessica Pickford; Unit 2 (How did the Framers create the Constitution?) Isabella Burke, Catherine Pouliot and Samantha Silver; Unit 3 (How has the Constitution been changed to further the ideals contained in the Declaration of Independence?) Nick Forsyth, Rebecca Green and Madeline Hixon; Unit 4 (How have the values and principles embodied in the Constitution shaped American institutions and practices?) Rebecca Green, Toni Kaplan and Timothy LaPointe; Unit 5 (What rights does the Bill of Rights protect?) Adam Bryant, Timothy LaPointe and Ian Ramsay; and Unit 6 (What Challenges might face American constitutional democracy in the twenty-first century?) Isabella Burke, Catherine Pouliot and Samantha Silver.  
Senior Isabella Burke said, “I'm extremely grateful for the experience I've had with We The People. It was especially awesome to be able to see all the monuments, museums, and landmarks in Washington, DC. The city provides a perfect backdrop for the competition. I was already very interested in politics and government, but this experience has helped me gain a greater understanding of governmental and Constitutional issues throughout American history. We The People is a unique, rigorous, and inspiring program that challenges students to think and articulate ideas at a higher level than most other academic situations require. I think it instilled a greater sense of citizenship and patriotism in all of us.”
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by the United States Congress.  The program is directed by the Center for Civic Education in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  Nationwide, the program is implemented at the upper elementary, middle, and high school levels and has reached more than 30 million students and 81,000 teachers during its 25-year history. (courtesy photo)