For the fourth time in six years, NCS 8th graders took first place last week in a citywide civics competition that showcases Middle School students' understanding of U.S. history and constitutional issues.
In the "We the People" competition, each school presents six teams of students, who serve as expert witnesses before a mock congressional committee. Each four- or five-person team prepares for the contest by studying a different element of American government, ranging from the first three articles of the Constitution to the responsibilities of citizens.
At the competition itself, held this year at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, teams presented their four-minute answer to a complex question within their field of study. The judges, a.k.a. "committee members," spent six more minutes asking follow-up questions, requiring students to talk extemporaneously about the issues they have studied. The members then ranked the teams on a variety of criteria, and the school with the best team scores wins the overall championship. NCS previously won the city title in 2012, 2014, and 2015.
Emily Fetting, who teaches American Government along with David Sahr, noted that "every judge, in every unit, made a point of highlighting how our students were confident and well-spoken in their presentations." She said that's a credit to the whole Middle School, where students are taught "how to articulate and present a point of view" and teachers "value what they have to say."
We the People, sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, provides students a chance to compete against peers and also to recognize how issues of government and governance affect everyday life. They also discover, Fetting said, "that they can participate in these conversations right now."
For their victory, the NCS participants each won gold medals. Congratulations to the winning team members!