Con­sti­tu­tion Ex­perts Now Need Cash

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Islander - By CAROL CHANG

First comes the recog­ni­tion, then re­al­ity hits.

On Jan. 31 be­fore es­teemed judges in Honolulu Cir­cuit Court, Kahuku High & In­ter­me­di­ate School’s team won the right to rep­re­sent Hawaii in the na­tional We The Peo­ple com­pe­ti­tion April 25-27 in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. But con­tin­u­ing bud­get cuts mean that there is no fund­ing at the na­tional level to help the stu­dents get there.

“It’s chal­leng­ing, in­for­ma­tive and a lot of fun,” said stu­dent Sasha Seneca of the high-level aca­demic civics quiz and es­says on the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

The big­gest chal­lenge right now, how­ever, re­lates to math and eco­nomics: Find $ 28,000 by late

March. Seneca es­ti­mates the cost at $2,000 per stu­dent for the Red Raiders’ team of 15. To of­fer help to Hawaii’s own con­sti­tu­tional ex­perts, visit go­fundme.com/kahukuwtp.

“We need all the help we can get,” she noted. “No amount is too lit­tle. We have ded­i­cated count­less hours to our re­search and in­tend to do our very best to rep­re­sent Hawaii.”

The Kahuku school has won the state-level com­pe­ti­tion more than a dozen times, in­clud­ing 2013 — a year re­quir­ing sim­i­lar fundrais­ing ef­forts. But ac­cord­ing to teacher/coach Jan Har­ney, “What makes this su­per ex­cit­ing is how in­cred­i­ble this pro­gram is and the growth that my class ex­pe­ri­ences as stu­dents, speak­ers and cit­i­zens.” Iolani School placed sec­ond this year, and Kealakehe third.

Be­sides rais­ing

trip money, the Red Raider team will at­tend a men­tor­ing ses­sion Feb. 24 at the Ju­di­ciary His­tory Cen­ter as it pre­pares its re­sponses to the com­pe­ti­tion’s na­tional ques­tions.

Here’s on ex­am­ple: “The in­de­pen­dence of Amer­ica, con­sid­ered merely as a sep­a­ra­tion from Eng­land, would have been a mat­ter but of lit­tle im­por­tance had it not been ac­com­pa­nied by a revo­lu­tion in the prin­ci­ples and prac­tices of gov­ern­ment. Do you agree or dis­agree with this as­ser­tion? Why?”

(Amy Per­ruso’s Mililani High stu­dents and Laie El­e­men­tary fifth-graders also par­tic­i­pated in the non-com­pet­i­tive show­case di­vi­sion of the Hawaii event, lec­tur­ing and field­ing ques­tions from judges about the law.)

We the Peo­ple pro­grams are a part­ner­ship be­tween the Cen­ter for Civic Ed­u­ca­tion and a net­work of 50 state civics, gov­ern­ment and law pro­grams to pro­mote teach­ing and learn­ing about the Con­sti­tu­tion and Bill of Rights.

We need all the help we can get. No

lit­tle.” amount is too

Meet the state’s 2015 We the Peo­ple team, which is seek­ing funds to com­pete on the na­tional stage in April in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The Kahuku High & In­ter­me­di­ate School team is com­prised of (front, from left) Grace Tueller, Chris­tian Chowen, Emma Houghton, Sasha Ya­mada, Vic­to­ria Coun­try­man, Hannah Miller, Tiana Wheeler, (mid­dle) Sadie More­lock, Sa­muel Work­man, Dae­lynn Hunter, Kayli Clif­ford, Isa­iah Spring, Tian Ford, Arenui An­der­son, Ka­hea Pir­rone, (back) Ocean Eale and teacher Jan Har­ney. Photo from Sasha Ya­mada.

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