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 Oak Grove and Black Mountain Middle Schools Place First in the 22nd Annual We the People Competition

​More than 400 students representing twelve middle schools throughout San Diego County recently competed at Grossmont College at the 22nd annual, “We the People Competition.” Oak Grove Middle School of the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District and Black Mountain Middle School of Poway Unified both placed first in the competition.

“We the People Competition” is a mock congressional style hearing, demonstrating student knowledge of the Constitution. “I am extremely proud of the way my students have embraced their citizenship,” said Greg Spielman, Oak Grove Middle School Coach. “This generation has blown me away by how much they know about the constitution. They have educated themselves on our Nation’s history far more then my generation ever did.”

Students prepared for the countywide event through their study of the U.S. Constitution. Each school’s team prepared a four-minute presentation on six different units of study. In a simulated Congressional Hearing in front of 36 judges, students were asked follow up questions to judge how well they have memorized the information on the structure of our Constitution and how it applies to their daily lives.

“The County Office of Education is a partner of the competition and supports the event by providing training facilities, program support, and several prestigious judges for the competition,” said Laurie Moiser, History and Social Science Coordinator, County Office of Education.

“It’s great to see how the maturity level of the students has evolved over the preparation time for the competition,” said Spielman. “The pride they took in their appearance and they way they showcased their civic responsibility to this country is empowering.”

The judges, who determined the two groups of student winners, included representatives from various Congressional offices, District Attorney offices, Former Superior Court Judges, San Diego County Office of Education staff, a La Mesa attorney, several retired historians and teachers, School Board members, college student alumni of the program, and community organization representatives.

Schools participating in the hearings included, Oak Grove Middle of Jamul, Cajon Valley, and Hillsdale Middle of El Cajon, Roosevelt Middle, Pacific Beach Middle, and Correia Junior High, of San Diego City Unified, Black Mountain Middle, Meadowbrook Middle and The Academy at Black Mountain, all of Poway and Del Dios Middle of Escondido.

The programs objective is to promote civic literacy in schools. Former students who have participated in the competition have gone on to work in Washington D.C. Students have always credited the program for their political involvement.