GREEN RIVER– The Green River High School “We the People” Team has earned the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. in April for the 31st Annual We the People National Finals. This is the first time GRHS has been invited to Nationals since 2003.
The National Finals will take place April 27 through April 30 at the National Conference Center in Washington D.C. GRHS is one of 56 teams that will compete.
“Really, the success of this program lives within my students,” GRHS AP Government and We the People teacher Erin Freeman said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group.”
The team, which is made up of 18 students, made it their goal to make it to the National Finals on the first day of school when Freeman introduced the We the People program to them.
Freeman was nervous entering the school year, as it was her first year teaching AP Government and We the People, but her students accepted her immediately.
“I am in awe of them,” Freeman said of her students. “Everyday they continue to surprise me with their willingness to learn and their work ethic.”
About “We the People”
We the People is a program that promotes an understanding of civic responsibility among the nation’s youth through simulated congressional hearings.
“Essentially, students learn about six different units, all of which are centered around different obstacles or philosophies behind the U.S. Constitution. For example, one unit is based upon the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debate, and another revolves around issues that face the Constitution today,” Freeman said.
The students form three opening statements for each unit, which is 18 statements total. They do not know which opening statement will be asked, so they must be prepared for all of them.
After the opening statement, they perform a 6-minute Q&A that tests and judges their knowledge. The students act as constitutional experts, while the panel of judges acts as a congressional committee.
The Journey to Nationals
To get to Nationals, GRHS had to compete at districts, in which they took first in the state. The top six district teams qualify for state. GRHS placed second at state, while Sheridan High School took first.
The first place team from each state goes to Nationals, however, the Wyoming state coordinator pushed for a wildcard. Each year, a few wildcards are given out.
On Monday, February 12, GRHS secured their National spot when they received the wildcard.
The team is currently preparing for Nationals by making new opening statements, while also keeping up with their AP Government curriculum and other studies. They are also starting fundraising efforts for their trip to Washington D.C.
“Right now we are organizing, but our plates are extremely full,” Freeman said.
The team needs to raise $31,000 for an all-inclusive trip to Nationals. This would cover airfare, accommodations, meals, and judges fees for the students.
The team has a few fundraising ideas which include business sponsors, community events, and a GoFundMe page.
The We the People team is looking for business sponsors. If a business in the community sponsors them, the team will represent that business by wearing that business’s logo on the back of their t-shirts at Nationals.
The first community event will include a dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction. A few of the We the People students play music and sing, so there will be band and choir performances.
This event will be on March 20 at the GRHS Commons, starting at 7 pm.
They are currently selling tickets for this event. For tickets, people can call Green River High School at 307-872-8300, or Erin Freeman at 307-871-0116.
There will also be a community event at the Pavillion/Island in Green River on March 25, from 5 to 9 pm. The event is open to all with a donation as an entrance fee. There will also be snacks available for purchase.
The team will also start raffling items off soon. They will raffle a variety of items such as a reiki session, photography sessions, fragrant baskets, quilts, and more. For more information, call Erin Freeman at 307-871-0116.
The team has also set up a GoFundMe page that people can donate to if they would like to help these students go to Nationals. The GoFundMe page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/8ynb7v-we-the-people-national-finals.
Exciting and Rare Opportunity
Being invited to Nationals is an exciting opportunity for the We the People team, and Freeman hopes the community will spread the word, join them for their events, and celebrate the success of these “amazing, hard-working, and well-deserved students.”
“It is going to be an exceptional amount of work, but they are excited and honored to have this rare opportunity,” Freeman said.