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Blackfoot High School students from Holly Kartchner's government class proved their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, once again by taking first place in the state for the sixth year in a row at the "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" mock congressional hearing competition in Boise on Feb. 6.
The class of 20 students is now eligible to to participate in the national "We the People" competition April 25-May 1 in Washington, D.C.
Kartchner, who has taught government and history at BHS for 8 years, said that "We the People" is a program for teaching students everything about the United States Constitution, its laws and how they affect our lives.
"The best thing we can do is to teach our kids how to participate in government," Kartchner said.
Kartchner said that the students competed against other schools from around the state, answering different questions on the Constitution, the framers, and how parts of the Constitution are applied to past and present legal issues. The students were judged by lawyers, education professionals, retired military officers and congressional executives.
"These questions are difficult. We start studying for this on the first day of school," Kartchner said.
Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue and Blackfoot Police Chief David Moore, who have been active through the years in helping with "We the People," both attended the state competition in Boise.
"It is gratifying to watch these students grow in their knowledge of the Constitution and government," Virtue said. "They are knowledgeable and professional in their presentation and it was a great experience for me to watch them compete."
Mallory Chavez, a senior who participated in the competition, said, "This was an amazing experience for me. It helped me step out of my comfort zone when it comes to public speaking and I learned so many things about the government."
Kartchner said the class will now be studying and raising money in preparation for the national competition
"We are completely self-funded; we study and we work hard," she said. "We are responsible for all of our travel and lodging fees for Washington, D.C - which costs approximately $1,500 per student."
Kartchner said the class will be conducting a series of fundraisers and accepting donations to cover the costs.
"Blackfoot has always been great about supporting 'We the People,' " she added. "We couldn't do this without the community behind us."