Constitution Experts Now Need Cash
First comes the recognition, then reality hits.
On Jan. 31 before esteemed judges in Honolulu Circuit Court, Kahuku High & Intermediate School’s team won the right to represent Hawaii in the national We The People competition April 25-27 in Washington, D.C. But continuing budget cuts mean that there is no funding at the national level to help the students get there.
“It’s challenging, informative and a lot of fun,” said student Sasha Seneca of the high-level academic civics quiz and essays on the U.S. Constitution.
The biggest challenge right now, however, relates to math and economics: Find $28,000 by late March. Seneca estimates the cost at $2,000 per student for the Red Raiders’ team of 15. To offer help to Hawaii’s own constitutional experts, visit gofundme.com/kahukuwtp.
“We need all the help we can get,” she noted. “No amount is too little. We have dedicated countless hours to our research and intend to do our very best to represent Hawaii.”
The Kahuku school has won the state-level competition more than a dozen times, including 2013 — a year requiring similar fundraising efforts. But according to teacher/coach Jan Harney, “What makes this super exciting is how incredible this program is and the growth that my class experiences as students, speakers and citizens.” Iolani School placed second this year, and Kealakehe third.
Besides raising trip money, the Red Raider team will attend a mentoring session Feb. 24 at the Judiciary History Center as it prepares its responses to the competition’s national questions.
Here’s on example: “The independence of America, considered merely as a separation from England, would have been a matter but of little importance had it not been accompanied by a revolution in the principles and practices of government. Do you agree or disagree with this assertion? Why?”
(Amy Perruso’s Mililani High students and Laie Elementary fifth-graders also participated in the non-competitive showcase division of the Hawaii event, lecturing and fielding questions from judges about the law.)
We the People programs are a partnership between the Center for Civic Education and a network of 50 state civics, government and law programs to promote teaching and learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights.