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E-Town takes on the nation’s best in prestigious We The People Competition

May 2nd, 2017 | By | Category: Front Page, News

May 2, 2017- Elizabethtown Area High School recently represented Pennsylvania in the national We the People finals in our nation’s capital. The team qualified based on winning the state championship for an amazing seventh year in a row. The culminating event at the national finals involved the top schools from around the country competing on Capitol Hill in the Congressional committee rooms.

Team members included Harrison Eichelberger, Brody Johnston, Conor Larison, Noah Myers, Aparna Paul, Kathryn Shenk, Kent Taylor, Scheck-Hambalah Traore, and Emily VanderMey. The team advisor is high school social studies teacher James Sostack. The nine-member team from Elizabethtown was the smallest team in the competition where some teams were in excess of 30 students.

Held April 21-25, the challenging academic competition tested the students’ knowledge of the Constitution and our system of government. The competition promoted civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s secondary students by having students take part in simulated congressional hearings on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

“The We the People program develops young constitutional scholars who can apply the principles of the constitution to contemporary events and issues facing our nation,” said James Sostack, high school social studies teacher and the team’s coach. “Democracy can only thrive when students understand the importance of civic engagement.”

While on Capitol Hill, the students made oral presentations before a panel of judges that included constitutional scholars, lawyers, civic educators, and government leaders. The students testified as constitutional experts to demonstrate their understanding of the Constitution. Topics for the team from Elizabethtown included the constitutionality of cyber warfare, climate control, judicial activism, the complexity of the presidential system, and other challenging constitutional areas.

A highlight of the week was a private meeting with United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The meeting was arranged with assistance from former Pennsylvania First Lady and federal appellate judge Majorie Rendell. During the meeting, the team asked Justice Alito his approach to judicial interpretations and past opinions of the court. At the conclusion of the meeting Sostack presented Justice Alito with a commemorative pin celebrating the 30th anniversary of the We the People National Final


Photo caption- Pictured (L-R) Scheck-Hambalah Traore, Kent Taylor, Emily VanderMey, Conor Larison, Aparna Paul, Harrison Eichelberger, Kathryn Shenk, Brody Johnston, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Noah Myers, Mrs. Julie Sostack, and Mr. James Sostack

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