(Extensions of Remarks - March 13, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E296-E297]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                           HON. DUSTY JOHNSON

                            of south dakota

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, March 13, 2019

  Mr. JOHNSON of South Dakota. Madam Speaker, it will be the 20th time 
Spearfish High School will represent South Dakota at the national ``We 
the People: The Citizen and the Constitution'' competition this spring.
   The team won the state competition Thursday at Black Hills State 
   ``It's commendable that you guys do 
this . . . . I think this will be a memorable experience for you,'' Wes 
Brown, of the Vantage Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides 
education, training, and support for issues facing communities, said. 
He thanked the students for their hard work, the judges for their time, 
and everyone involved for making the event possible.
   The We the People program promotes civic competence and 
responsibility for upper elementary and secondary students. The program 
was created in 1987, directed by the Center for Civic Education and 
funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for 
Democracy Act.
   During the competition, student units take on simulated 
congressional hearing questions, demonstrating their knowledge and 
understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and current 
constitutional issues. Each unit prepares a four-minute statement to 
present to the panel of judges acting as a congressional committee, and 
they then answer follow-up questions posed by the committee members. 
The units are scored on understanding, Constitutional application, 
reasoning, supporting evidence, responsiveness, and participation.
   The Spearfish team is made up of seniors Lily Dennison, Gene Glover, 
Paxton Klug, Rigel Roberdeau, Kenna Comer, Kennedy Kaitfors, Rylee 
Niesent, Taylor Hersch, Justin Steedley, Hannah Tysdal, Ana Buchholz, 
Peter Marich, Morgan Roberts, Zach Tipton, Sophia Caldwell, Nathan 
Davis, Thomas Friedrich, Ella Neiman, Tim Doerges, Izzy Drumm, Jay 
Sayler, and Chelsea Williams. Patrick Gainey teaches the class.

[[Page E297]]

   Unit 4, made up of Buchholz, Marich, Roberts, and Tipton, were named 
the best unit for the Spearfish team, and Friedrich was named the 
Larson Best Speaker Award for the team.
   Lead-Deadwood High School, taught by Matthew Campbell, also 
competed. The team is made up of students Chayton Bower, Carter Nelson, 
Eric Schumacher, Kyler Farmer-Winsell, Hunter Gudith, Chase Ladner, 
Michael Crawford, Harley Priest, Jasmine Riter, Luke Fish, Keegan 
Huntington, Zak Mau, Wyatt VandeVelde, Dylan Arehart, Dylan Janke, CJ 
Murray, Megan Snow, Raygan Mattson, Maxx Percy, Mackenzie Wetz, Zoe 
Bourgo, Brianna Pfeiffer-Munoz, Kaitlin Wilks, Carly Mehlberg, Abiah 
Morrison, and Alexis Morrison.
   Unit 6a, made up of Bourgo, Pfeiffer-Munoz, and Wilks, was named 
best unit, and Pfeiffer-Munoz was named the Larson Best Speaker Award 
for the team.
   Brown encouraged everyone to spread the word about the program. He 
said in the last decade, the most teams that participated in South 
Dakota were seven, versus the two teams competing this year. He added 
that Wyoming has 18 teams competing to represent the state.
   ``Thanks so much for putting in the effort,'' Brown said.
   Spearfish High School will join approximately 1,200 students from 56 
high school classes from across the nation to compete in the We the 
People National Finals April 26-29 at the National Conference Center in 
Washington, D.C.
   ``I'm really proud of how hard the kids worked,'' Gainey said of the 
students. ``They put in--it's not just class time--they meet outside of 
school, they meet at each other's houses, they go and interview 
professionals, they talk to lawyers and public officials, to get 
information for their presentations. It's a class, I think, that 
inspires a lot of devotion and commitment to each other. I like it 
because it's a little bit like football or basketball in that you could 
have the smartest kid in the state and you still might not win because 
it's a team effort.''