They’re the people: Laurel students take regional award in national civics competition

Posted at 4:00 PM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:09:06-04

LAUREL – Honors students from Laurel High School brought home hardware Tuesday night from a national civics competition in Washington D.C.

The honors civics class has been preparing for the “We the People” competition since school started in August.

The competition centers around different aspects of the U.S. Constitution, including political history and current application.

The group of 15 students from Laurel split into six groups, all with a different focus on the Constitution. They first had to present their arguments, then take unscripted questions from a panel of judges.

Fifty-two teams were invited to compete, and Montana took the top spot in the Mountain/Plains region.

“We were one of the smaller teams there,” said Cassidy Vandervoort, a senior in the class. “We had 15, but you can have a max of 32 or 36 I believe, so a lot of these teams were huge teams that were way bigger than us. And to know that we put all of our brain power together and still took home a championship that was bigger than anything Montana has ever seen for a national civics competition is just crazy to think about.”

A team from Montana has never won the award for the 10-state region, which includes Wyoming, the Dakotas and Texas.

”When they [announced for] region two, I told him “wow, what if they say Montana?”, said Callie Allen, a senior in the class. “Then they said Montana, and we all just started screaming.”

They still will have to wait a week or so for their official ranking in the competition. The highest the program has ever placed is 32nd.

“It’s absolutely a reward for all the hard work and the time that they put in,” said Lee Deming, who teaches the class. “I’ve had classes in the past that have done extremely well but we never got quite this far. And so it’s a testament to how hard they worked.”

When they arrived back home after the competition, they were met with a Laurel Fire Department escort back into town.

Reporting by Samantha Harrelson for MTN News