They’ve done it again.

The Brown County Junior High We the People team won the Indiana Bar Foundation’s premiere civics competition for middle school students on Dec. 16.

“It was the best feeling in the world to know that all of the hard work actually paid off,” eighth-grader Evelyn Crimmins said.

“I know we’ve won it four times before, but it feels good to win since it’s us,” classmate Layton Mosier said.

More than 297 middle school students from 13 teams testified in mock congressional hearings before a panel of judges that included lawyers, professors and members of the judiciary during the We the People finals.

Fishers Junior High School finished second, and Forest Ridge Academy from Schererville was third.

The scores were close though, We the People teacher Michael Potts said.

“The second-place team, Fishers, it’s their first year doing it, which is a little bit alarming to me because if they came in that close their first year then we’ve got to step it up next year,” he said.

The judges weren’t easy on the students either, Evelyn said.

“We did our best speech first, our most prepared speech, and they totally knocked us down,” she said.

But she is taking the judges’ criticism seriously and is going to apply it for the national competition in Washington.

“I am going to work really hard to fix what I did wrong,” she said.

Added Potts: “It’s a huge confidence booster because something that we’ve struggled with all year

is confidence. Knowing that

we’re ready to go and that they have doubts, they second-guess

themselves. This I think proves that we know what we’re doing, and the confidence level is much higher.”

Discussion about fundraising for the Washington trip for the national competition won’t begin until after the students return from winter break, Potts said.

Last time, $35,000 was required to take the children to the national competition.

“We look forward to working with the community again and raising the money to get these kids back to defend their title,” he said. “I certainly thank the community for all that they have done so far.”

We the People kids and their units

Brown County Junior High’s We the People team won the state competition on Dec. 16. Now their sights are set on the national competition in Washington to possibly bring home the title for a third year in a row. Below are the students in this year’s class and the units they are responsible for. 

Unit 1: What Were the Founders’ Basic Ideas About Government? — Sam Bowman, Marino Dolph, Layton Mosier and Leo Williams

Unit 2: What Shaped the Founders’ Thinking About Government? — Wolf Davis, Zelton Kay, Jackson McPheeters and Josh Parry

Unit 3: What Happened at the Philadelphia Convention? — Julita Cridlin, Mekenzie Dunnuck and Caly Rice

Unit 4: How Was the Constitution Used to Establish Our Government? — Madison Bickley, Evey Crimmins and Kortnee Lucas

Unit 5: How Does the Constitution Protect Our Basic Rights? — Maggie Crimmins, Baelyn Koester and Dasia Wilkerson

Unit 6: What Are the Responsibilities of Citizens? — Chloe Barnes, Shaelyn Biddle, Kiera Omberg and Maddy Westcott

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.