Here is what some of the students have had to say about the "We the People..." program. Through their words, you can tell this is a worthy cause:
Elliott Williams said," In the past few months, this team has become family, and the state competition this weekend only reiterated that. The support from my teammates, our coach, advisers, and the community is overwhelming. . . Hearing our school called up for first place was pure euphoria, and while the reality of it hasn't fully set in, I'm so overjoyed to represent Team Indiana this spring."
Abigail M.J. Aylward said, "The program itself has taught me how to communicate my ideas in an intelligent way--a skill that cannot be understated! State has made me wonder, and become excited about a potential future in law. We the People (and the state competition) surely has given me a lot to think about, a wealth of knowledge and excitement towards the future!"
Aylward also cited Coach Paternoster as being an integral part of the team's success. "She has surrounded us with support and with supporters (such as all of our unit advisors). She has put so much of her time and herself into this program and into shaping all of us--that I truly believe she deserves all the recognition here. I will always be grateful for her, my team, and this opportunity."
Jake Jensen said, "Yesterday was culmination of a lot of hard work. We were essentially an underdog team after the first two rounds, but we were able to band together to finish in first place. I came to realize how much trust I've built in not just my unit mates but the entire team. Going to Nationals is an exceedingly high honor, but being able to continue to study government and the Constitution with my teammates for another semester is even better. Civic education has never been more exciting; I'm looking forward to Nationals and getting back to work with my team."
THE COACH'S STORY
Education is the very cornerstone of a successful democracy. I believe strongly in this and that is why I chose to become the coach of the "We the People..." team seven years ago. Our program has continued to grow and become more and more successful each year due to the support of great people that believe in education as deeply as I do! This year, my students worked so incredibly hard and all that time and energy culminated in them winning the Indiana "We the People..." state finals! Words cannot even describe the joy and excitement we all felt the moment they called our name as the winners. Now, we are known as Team Indiana and will represent the Hoosier state at the "We the People..." National finals in Washington D.C. in April. Our team is being recognized on the floor of the Indiana General Assembly and congratulated by the Governor of Indiana in February. Winning the state finals in Indiana is a huge accomplishment and I am so proud to be a part of it all!
The "We the People..." program has been around since 1987 and focuses on teaching students about the constitutional principles this great country was founded on in the hopes of creating a more educated citizenry. Coaching high school seniors over the last seven years has been the greatest experience of my professional career so far! The fact that my students will be representing the state of Indiana at the National finals makes me so proud. Their trip to D.C. will include:
A five day/four night stay in a hotel in the D.C. area, round-trip travel and all meals
Participation in the "We the People..." National finals in Congressional committee rooms on Capitol Hill!
Sightseeing throughout D.C. which will bring the last 6 months of their studying to life!
Experiences such as laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, visiting the Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court
In order for my students to take part in this once in a lifetime experience, I want to raise $25,000. Please help me by donating towards this worthy cause. Any contribution you could make would help me achieve my goal. All donations are tax deductible and you will be sent a letter promptly for your tax records.
Also, consider asking your employer if they participate in a matching program. This could double your donation!
Please email me if you have any questions or want to hear more about this really great learning opportunity. World strides is the educational travel company organizing the trip and you can check out www.worldstrides.org for information about their trips and safety record. You can also find out more about the "We the People..." program at www.civiced.org. Thank you for your consideration!