The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

VWHS 2nd in ‘We the People’ competition

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Van Wert High School competed in the state “We the People” competition at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus this past Friday and was named state runners-up.  

There are six units in the program, each one focusing on a different aspect of the United States Constitution.  As a rule, each school can only win one “unit” award, and then an overall champion is selected based upon points accumulated throughout the competition. Van Wert’s Outstanding Unit Award for Unit 6 focused on the “Challenges the American Constitutional Democracy may face in the 21st Century” and specifically dealt with the U.S. and the Ohio Constitution.  

Members of Van Wert’s Unit 6 team include Lawson Blackmore, Nathan Bidlack, and Hayden Maples. 

VWHS participants in the state “We the People” competition include (front row, from the left) Emma Rutkowski, Michaella Johnson, Alexis Metz; (second row) Noah Carter, Maples Haden, Nathan Bidlack, Lawson Blackmore, Reagan Priest, Noelle Heffner, Drew Bagley, Margueritte Bauer, and Tabitha Saam. Not pictured: Nate Place. photo provided

“I was so very impressed with our students today,” said VWHS teacher Jeff Kallas. “The weather created a number of issues for our students, and I am proud to have seen their perseverance.  

“These students can sit down with some of the best law professors and attorneys in the state of Ohio and develop a position on a topic, support it, and then inform these professionals why their position is the right one,” Kallas added. “It’s fascinating and so very rewarding.”  

There are two rounds to the completion. In each round, a unit team is asked a question, along with bullet points, and one of the remaining two questions in the second round. Students have four minutes to give a prepared response to the questions asked of them, and then judges have six minutes to ask additional questions. The questions range from asking for historical and contemporary examples, solutions to problems, and explanations as to how things have been changed and/or why they existed.  

Findlay High School was named the state champion at this year’s competition.

“Findlay has a great reputation and Mark Dickman (Findlay teacher and Middle Point mayor) has been so helpful; but they are a school of 2,000 students and we have 600,” Kallas went on to say. “I am excited for our kids. Most of these students are involved in other academic and athletic programs, and perform at the highest level in all their classes.” 

This year, Ohio has been selected as one of the 50 states to receive a “wild card” entry for its runner-up, which means Van Wert has been invited to the national competition being held in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, the national event occurs the same weekend as VWHS’s prom and many spring activities, so Kallas said he and the students will have to have some serious conversations this week in class to determine whether they will accept the offer.

Competition questions for this year include the following:

POSTED: 02/05/19 at 8:53 am. FILED UNDER: News