We the People looks ahead toward nationals

Ryan Post and Lindsey Van Hekken

Long nights spent writing essays, difficult tests, and countless hours working to become Constitutional experts. This is what the East Grand Rapids We the People team has accomplished this year.

They are fresh off a first-place finish at the State competition in Lansing, which means that they received an opportunity to compete at the national level taking place Apr. 26-29 in Washington D.C. The team has been on a winning streak for several years now, winning the state competition 6 consecutive times. Their state win has earned them a spot in the lineup for the national competition, which will be held in Washington D.C. in May.

All the hard work, sacrificing most of winter break and the absence of free time has now paid off for all the participants. The team is coached and taught by East Grand Rapids teacher Mr. Horos as well as seniors who were on the team in years past. The team’s current students were surrounded by people who had prepared them to win.

The students have a brief break for right now after all of their hard work last semester and at the state competition, but they will start up again soon with the late night study sessions on Wednesday and the draining but entertaining Sunday practices.

“I am looking forward to spending time and bonding with my unit and the whole Weeple (We the People) team in Washington D.C. I’m excited to tour and sightsee with them. I also really hope to see some of the Supreme Court justices like they were able to last year,” Aneesa Berner ’20 said.

Even though nationals is still a few months away, Unit 5 member Sophie Forstner ‘20 continues to stay focused on We The People.

“States went really well for us. My unit beat Black River by 60 points,” says Forstner. “I’m excited for nationals and I hope the government shutdown ends by then, otherwise we won’t really be able to do much in Washington D.C.”

For the team, this opportunity is more than just a competition and it is well deserved due to all of the energy they have exhausted while trying to get to nationals.

“When we got our questions we had three-hour practices twice a week where we wrote essays and prepared for free response questions. My unit, since it is focused on current events, would often read theSkimm or the news to stay updated. As we got closer to the competition we would go to a person’s house for a few hours every day to learn and quiz each other and make some finishing touches to our essays,” Berner said.

Each unit went through extensive studying and practicing for every competition and they have all been successful individually. Making it to nationals is an incredible achievement and win or lose, they will be proud and they will never forget it.

“But it definitely wasn’t all about work, often times my unit would spend time bonding which I really think benefited us in the long run!” Berner said.

Close relationships are formed on the We the People team and that’s able to benefit their performance while competing together. Being able to get to know the team members gives them the opportunity to learn from and constructively criticize each other to improve the overall knowledge of each unit.

As we get closer to April, expect the team to be working for countless hours in preparation for their biggest competition. The whole school will be cheering on the team from back in Michigan.

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