By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Wildcard given to GR civics group

 


Students in the high school’s “We the People” program are trying to raise enough money to pay for a trip to Washington D.C., to compete on a national level.

Erin Freeman, Green River High School teacher and the “We the People” program leader, said the program is a national civics education curriculum that some schools have adopted.

Students in “We the People” are in the GRHS’s AP government class, a rigorous, elective class the students take to prepare for the AP exam.

“It is the premier government and civics education program in our country,” Freeman said. “The ‘We the People’ program is a curriculum used in many schools across the nation to encourage and spark students interest and participation in civics education. Essentially, what this program is based around is the Constitution.”

Freeman said the curriculum is split into six units, which focus on different items on the the Constitution.

For example, the first unit looks the philosophies behind the U.S. Constitution, the second explores the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debate, the fifth focuses on the Bill of Rights and the sixth dives into the current issues that affect the Constitution.


Students in this class are divided into groups of three or four and they pick a unit to work on in preparation for a mock-hearing competition in which they are judged.

Prior to being judged, the groups are given three questions. The students in the class prepare opening statements for all three questions, but they don’t know which question they will be asked until the event.

After the opening statement is done, they must be prepared for a six-minute, question-and-answer session based on their opening statement.

“Students have to be ready really for any question revolving around the Constitution,” Freeman said. “Students are then scored on their performance on the state level.” 

Wyoming hosts a district competition, which took place in December. At districts, the  top six scoring teams go to state in Laramie, GRHS took first.

At state, which happened in January, GRHS took second, however, every year, national wildcards are awarded.

“Our state coordinator pushed hard for GRHS to be awarded a wildcard because the kids this year are absolutely exceptional,” Freeman said. 

On Feb. 12, the students at GRHS were notified that they had been given the wildcard.

“This is the first time since 2003 that GRHS has been asked to attend nationals in Washington D.C.,” Freeman said. “This means GRHS is one of the best teams in the nation.”

Students wanting to go to Washington D.C. are Mary Harris, Alex Davis, Atlin Johnson, Liam Pickering, Alondra Hamilton, Savrina Karimi, Aaron Allred, Dallin Hoyt, Karlee Cutler, Kelci Revelli, Sam Bayles, Levi Hren and Jesse Lauze Reyes. 

“Right now, the students are preparing for Nationals with all new opening statements, fundraising their cost to go and preparing for the AP exam,” she said. “Their plates are extremely full.” 

Nationals is scheduled to take place April 27-May 1. At this competition, the students will compete in different rooms and the judges will determine what the groups knowledge of the Constitution and government are.

“I want to go to Washington D.C. for several reasons. One is we haven’t seen a team like this in almost two decades,” Revelli said. “All students have worked so hard for this rare opportunity and we would be representing all of Sweetwater County and Wyoming on a national scale.”


“Green River should be particularly proud that this exceptional group of students are going to represent them on a national scale. We are bringing small town Green River to compete nationally, and that within itself is rare, and huge,” Freeman said. “These students have work incredibly hard to be where they are at, and Green River should be honored that they represent them.”


Fundraising efforts

To take a trip like this will cost the group about $22,000, which is why they have already started trying to raise money.

The group has already set up a GoFundMe account at  https://www.gofundme.com/8ynb7v-we-the-people-national-finals. So far, they have only been able to raise $830 on the site.

Freeman said at first they needed to raise $31,000, but that was when all 18 students were going to attend. She soon found out of the 18 in her class, 13 wanted to go to Washington D.C.

“Because of the timing, some of the students have had prior obligations, and will not be able to attend Nationals,” Freeman said.

To accomplish this goal the group is looking at various ways to raise money.

“We have a variety of different fundraisers we are going to participate in,” Freeman said.

First, the group is looking for business sponsors, those who sponsor the group will have their ad or logo placed on the back of their T-shirts, in which they will wear at nationals.

Second, the group is hosting a community showcase on March 20. At the showcase, dinner and entertainment will be provided. A silent auction will also take place at this event. So far, items on the silent auction include fragrance baskets, reiki sessions, a photography session and a multitude of other baskets.

Students have begun selling tickets, for information on how to purchase tickets, please contact Freeman at 307-871-0116, or call GRHS at 307-872-8300.

Finally, students will put on a family movie night on March 25 at the Expedition Island Pavilion. Anyone can enter with a donation and snacks will be provided by donation.

Anyone interested in helping this group out, can contact Freeman or one of the students going to Washington D.C. 

 

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