I cannot adequately express the pride that I felt when I heard the news that our boys and girls had again won the state title for middle school We the People competition. This is the sixth year in a row, which makes for even more of an accomplishment!
This championship is again a reflection on the dedication of our students and our teacher, Mr. Michael Potts. As in the past, our students and Mr. Potts have worked many extra hours in preparing for the contest. This commitment has taught our students a very important life lesson: that of working beyond the minimum to achieve a very important goal.
Beyond the work ethic lessons, the value of the We the People experience and the fact of learning the workings of our American system of government place our students in an advantageous position for their future participation as citizens and leaders of our country.
We are able to see direct evidence of the knowledge of the Constitution and our government that our students take from the We the People experience. Our boys and girls will be able to utilize their knowledge throughout their lives. We believe that our We the People students go into high school with more knowledge of our governmental operations and our system than many adults.
On Dec. 13 I was privileged to represent our district (along with Principal Brian Garman and teacher Mike Potts) at a banquet sponsored by the Indiana Bar Foundation highlighting their organization’s support for the We the People competition as well as other school programs.
The accomplishments of our Brown County Junior High students in We the People has become recognized throughout the state. There were attorneys, judges and Indiana Supreme Court justices present at this event. I was quite proud to be recognized as the superintendent of Brown County Schools and as one administrator related to the Brown County community.
We heard a number of prominent people including Indiana Supreme Court justices comment both to the entire group, and to us, individually, about how impressed they have been with the quality of students representing Brown County at the We the People competitions over the years. They commented that this is evidence of the quality of education available to the students of Brown County.
Several made specific comments on the support given to the We the People effort by our school district and by our community. Prominent persons in the Indiana Bar Association have taken note of the significant and extraordinary manner in which our community has raised the funding to send our boys and girls to Washington, D.C., for the past three national competitions.
These efforts have been rewarded by two national championships and a national runner-up in the three years our students have competed. With this sixth straight state championship, we will again be undertaking an effort to finance yet another attempt to bring back a national championship to Brown County.
This year’s competition was again very close. Other schools have taken note of our efforts and pointed their challenges at us. Let me say that defending a state championship (five times running) is more and more difficult as other schools begin to aim at us. Fishers Junior High School (in that small district up in Hamilton County) has finished runner-up to Brown County the past two years and the scoring has been very close. Nevertheless, our students rose to the challenge and were again victorious.
Principal Brian Garman summed up our feelings very well as we spoke to our students the day after the event. The real success in this competition comes from preparing to the best of their abilities; learning the valuable material about the operation of our system of government; and experiencing the event which required our students to answer difficult questions from lawyers and judges in Indiana and apply their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, legislation over the history of our country, theory of governance which motivated the Founding Fathers, and important court cases.
Our society places great value on winning and competing. Mr. Garman told our students that they were already winners despite the outcome because of their experiences. I think we all concur with this conclusion. And it was nice to win as well!
Our students will now undertake another round of learning more about the U.S. government in preparation for the national competition. They will also begin working on a fundraising effort to finance the travel to Washington, D.C.
We thank all of the folks in our community, including our students’ parents who have supported We the People teams this year and in the past. I can assure each of our readers that these students will again be great ambassadors of Brown County and Brown County Schools.
Well done, Mr. Potts and boys and girls! Good luck in the nationals!