We the People wins Regional, qualifies for State

Indiana finals are Dec. 8-9 at Union Station


Maddie Wirth

Just after the We the People team was announced as the Regional winner on Nov. 9 at Hamilton Southeastern High School, seniors Carson Kwiatkowski, Jackson Hern and Kat Griffith show off the trophy.

Ethan Eckhart

The We the People program is back after a one-year hiatus and is better than ever.

Mrs. Jill Twilleager returns to govern the group along with Mr. Sean Dewey ‘06, who is an attorney for Ice Miller. The citizenship and Constitution program promotes civil debate and responsibility among students. Along with the group comes many debates and arguments that will be judged to determine which team wins the argument and therefore the competition.

Joining We the People is simple. Taking We the People counts as an AP government class, and all you have to do is sign up for the class and come with an open mind. However, Twilleager said, “Students who look to take this are looking to be more engaged in their learning and willing to put in extra time.”

She refers to the class as “co-curricular” because there are outside events you must attend. Within the class itself there are practices throughout the week and competition on the weekends. Senior Carson Kwiatkowski, who is a member of the competition team this year, said, “There are about nine hours of meetings with unit mates, advisers and practices on Sundays.”

Twilleager says there’s an image associated with the We the People group because students think that they must be good at politics, or they have to be interested in politics already. She said, “There are no requirements, and a student who should join is not necessarily one that wants to be an attorney or wants to major in law, but someone who is interested in learning about government (and) good citizenship and wants to be involved in the political and civic process.”

The first competition took place Nov. 9 at Hamilton Southeastern High School. The competition was among schools in the Central region, which is one of the four Indiana regions.  

This school’s team competed against seven schools. They ended up taking first place, beating all the other schools at the regional final. The group will go on to compete in state Dec. 8 and Dec.9.

Twilleager has been a part of We the People for 19 years. However, last year there was no competitive team. Twilleager said, “There was no competitive team last year because I took a year off to get married and to build a home.”

She had not planned to return to We the People originally after being out of the program for a year, but then she realized something was off in her life. After a conversation with her husband, they concluded she needed to start up We the People again. With help from her husband and Dewey, they have all been able to take shared responsibility in the group.

Kwiatkowski had a lot to say about the group as well. She was originally taking AP government, but when Twilleager sent a callout email, she said she became intrigued with the idea of taking part in the competition. After a brief conversation with friends she decided to join.

Personally, Kwiatkowski has enjoyed the aspect of becoming closer to her teammates. She said, “I feel like I see them everywhere at school now.” She said she recommends We the People to “anyone who is slightly interested in government.”

She went on to note that there is a We the People stereotype of members having a great deal of work that turns off some people, but she said joining the team has been well worth it.