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Nevada Law Related Education - We the People: The Citizens and the Constitution

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APRIL 2009
The Citizens and theConstitution
of the United
Many of us went to law school because we wanted to change the world. Our heroes were lawyers. With unbridled ideals and dreams of public justice, we absorbed the social victories of the past and yearned for the battles of our time. I regret the diminishment of these youthful passions as I settled into my own career and family.
I breathed anew these passions during a weekend in Washington, D.C. last year. I stood before our charter documents housed within the National Archives and marveled again at the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. I visited our national monuments and, in the quiet solitude of my hotel room, re-read Reverend King’s 1963 letter from the Birmingham Jail. More than anything else, I was inspired by 1,300 high school students, representing all 50 states, as they competed in the We the People: The Citizens and the Constitution national finals. These diverse, young students, some firstgeneration Americans, had devoted the better part of a year to studying the U.S. Constitution and preparing for the competition. The competition simulates congressional hearings, in which students provide prepared “testimony” and then respond extemporaneously to follow-up questions from judges. The competition begins in congressional districts where local high school teams compete to advance to the state finals. The winning school at each state competition then represents its state at the national finals in Washington, D.C. The national competitors were remarkable. But more importantly, through the competition, all participating students, at every level, learn about the structural components of self-government.
States P
Regardless of the vocations they pursue in the future, they leave their We the People classrooms better informed and better prepared to be civic-minded, responsible adults. We the People is sponsored by the Center for Civic Education. Its primary goal is to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s elementary and secondary students. Since 1987, more than 28 million students and 90,000 educators have participated in We the People. The program enjoys support from congressional leaders, and educational, professional, business and community organizations across the nation. Nevada’s state competition took place in Las Vegas in early February. Reed High School won and will be traveling to Washington, D.C. later this month to represent Nevada in the national finals. I invite you to lend your time and resources to We the People. You may volunteer in the classroom or as a judge. You may underwrite some of the expenses. No matter how you choose to help, you will meet inspiring students and revisit the ideals of your youth. You, and our communities, will be enriched by your assistance. You may contact Nevada coordinator Marcia Ellis at for additional information.
JUDGE DAVID A. HARDY is a Second Judicial District Court judge in Washoe County, Nevada.
We the People:
APRIL 2009
John V. White, dean of Boyd School of Law, and Judge George Assad take a moment to chat during the We the People state competition. Reed High School students and their teacher accept the award for 1st place at the state competition. Reed High School will represent Nevada at the upcoming national We the People competition in Washington, D.C. in April.
Pictured, left to right, U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro; U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen; UNLV Boyd Law professor Jeffrey Stempel; Washoe County District Court Judge David Hardy; John V. White, Dean of Boyd School of Law; U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley, Jr.; and Eighth Judicial District Judge Elissa Cadish. Many thanks to all who support We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution.
Judge Philip Pro, Michael Vannozzi (representing Senator Reid) and Christy Guedry (representing Senator Ensign) present the 3rd-place prize to Basic High School’s team.
Volunteer judges: Assemblyman Lynn Stewart; Martha Gould, UNR Professor Emeritus; Sue Davis, Washoe County School District; and Stephanie Hartman, Nevada Department of Education.

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