THE COACH'S STORY
I strongly believe that one of the biggest problems with our society is that not all children receive an equal opportunity to receive a high quality education just because of where they live. Teaching mostly students of color in rural Mississippi and in inner-city Nashville, I have witnessed how the plight of poverty has put my former and current students at extreme disadvantages in life compared to students that live in the wealthy suburbs. My students do not have access to the many school privileges that their more affluent peers receive including opportunities to go on academic field trips and compete on academic teams. Therefore, I wanted to provide my students this opportunity by entering them in the We The People competition. I competed in the We The People competition in 2007 as a high school senior and this experience transformed my life. I became motivated to study the Constitution and become an informed citizen as a result of the program. Consequently, I wanted to share my passion for our government with future students. It is my hope that this program inspires my students to run for public office and serve important positions in government and their communities. I believe strongly in this and that is why I chose to coach the first ever "We the People..." team at RePublic High School.
THE STUDENTS' STORY
My students are very courageous for taking on this challenge as most of them are only freshman competing against teams comprised of mostly juniors and seniors. At first many of my students did not have much confidence in their public speaking abilities and their writing skills. However, they have made tremendous growth over the past five months. The students have stayed after school countless hours practicing their presentations and revising their papers. Some students wanted to quit the program due to its difficutly, but I challenged them to be resilient and they rose to the occasion. Other students initially had little interest in learning about our government, but now they ask me daily questions about topics like gerrymandering and the checks and balances of the Constitution. Even more impressive is the fact that the students have come together to work as a team by showing kindness to one another and cheering each other on when the times have been challenging. Because of my students' curiosity, resiliency, and kindness, they performed amazingly at the state competition and impressed the judges with their performance. In our first year of the program, we won the Tennessee "We The People..." state competition!
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 Tennessee and will represent the Volunteer state at the "We the People..." National finals in Washington D.C. in April. I am very proud of the hard work to students put in to have this opportunity.
ABOUT THE "WE THE PEOPLE..." COMPETITON
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. ! 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.
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, we need to raise $6,291. Please help me by donating towards this worthy cause. Any contribution you could make would help us achieve our 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. You can also find out more about the "We the People..." program at www.civiced.org. Thank you for your consideration!
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