We the People team qualifies for State competition

Knowledge of the Constitution is vital to the squad’s success


Liam Eifert

We the People team members take part in the Regional competition on Nov. 7.

Liam Eifert, Reporter

Based on results of the Regional on Nov. 7, the We the People team has qualified for State competition again this year. The team finished among the top two schools in the Regional, coming in second behind Hamilton Southeastern and ahead of Fishers.

The State competition is scheduled for Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 and will take place via Zoom rather than in person.

Team members seniors Abygail Dravis, Ethan Marasco, Kieran McCauley, Annabella McGinley-King, Isaac Michael, Chloe Miller, Morgan Vukovits, Whitley Walton and junior Mary Kuckelman arrived on campus at 7 on the morning of the Regional to make final preparations for the competition, which took place over Zoom from 9 a.m. to noon.

Vukovits said, “We were definitely prepared, but there’s still nerves because all of the judges were esteemed judges, lawyers, (professors) at universities.”

Each unit presentation had its three members present pro and con opinions with their peers regarding the issue at stake. Unit 5, which earned the unit award out of the six units and consisted of Marasco, Michael and Vukovits, deliberated the Bill of Rights, among other topics.

As the team prepared for its first competition of the year, McCauley said, “We’ve had so many controversial conversations with each other,” and she and her teammates listed some of the points of contention in the group. Vukovits, however, was quick to add that “even though we disagree on things in our unit, we’re still friends. I still respect (an opponent’s) opinion and his beliefs because he has a justified reason for it and he respects mine.”

The team members expressed different reasons for joining We the People, but they all seemed to agree with McCauley when she said, “It’s really fun, and even though half of us weren’t friends before we did this, now we’re all so close with each other that it’s like a family.”

Social studies teacher Mrs. Jill Twilleager, who coaches the team, helps members prepare 25 hours of review and practice each week, including class time. That time went into “six hours of practice time individually (within their specific units) a week and then on Sundays the team comes together as a whole and does a full-class practice and that full class practice really looks like a scrimmage,” Twilleager said.

Twilleager elaborated on the competition process. She said, “The format is actually a mock Congressional hearing,” comparing it to the confirmation hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The students in groups of three called units (each student participates in two units), answer one question for which they have prepared a response and then a follow-up or question-and-answer for which they have to answer impromptu questions from the judges.

Twilleager said she has been associated and coaching We the People for 20 years. She said she  was introduced to the program as a student in college by a professor. Twilleager said, “My very first year teaching I started a (We the People) program.”

Just as every team or club has had to do, We the People team members this year also have had to adjust to Covid-19. Twilleager said, “We’ve had to find these clear masks because they’re open and the voice would be able to project more.” Twilleager said she and the team decided to use the same clear masks that the foreign language teachers use.