Howell High School We The People Team Returns from Washington, DCwphungerford
Howell High School
While Howell High School’s We The People Team did not finish in the Top 10 at the 26th Annual We The People National Finals in Washington, DC over the weekend, the team’s Unit 6 did receive an award as the Top Unit 6 in the nation. Members will return to classes Wednesday with many great memories and experiences to treasure.
“I am proud of my students for their hard work and their performance,” We The People Teacher Mark Oglesby said. “This is a subjective competition, and you can never know how close it might be. They received some great comments and some judges are honestly surprised they are not in the finals, but that is the way the ball bounces. They have nothing to be down about because they did a great job.”
While the team did not make it to the top 10 of the competition, one of the team’s units, Unit 6, was awarded as the best Unit 6 team in the nation, during an awards ceremony on Monday night.
“We heard some great feedback from the judges,” Oglesby said. “We had some high level judges drilling and grilling our teams, and the students stayed composed and responded in an articulate manner. It was great watching that.”
The Howell High School students competed on Saturday and Sunday. The top 10 winners were announced Sunday night.
The Unit 6 team members learned of their award during a ceremony on Monday night. “I’ve never had a class where I learned more,” said Andreja Petrulis of Unit 6. “We studied for so long, and the hard work really paid off. This is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Unit 6 member Bree Casper said her team struggled during the district competition and members felt like they were the “worst team” competing at that time. “It’s been crazy, like a whirlwind for us,” Casper said. “I think our mentality became ‘let’s not lose this for the team.’ We were the top Unit 6 at State Finals and the top Unit 6 at the National Finals. I feel like instead of the little engine that could. We were the little unit that could.”
Oglesby said being at the national competition has offered him a chance to meet up with several teachers who have inspired his work with the Howell We The People teams he’s coached over the years. Seeing this year’s team compete has been especially rewarding.
“Everything I am as a teacher comes from what I have been able to do with this program, how it helps me and improves me as a teacher, as well,” he said. “I can’t say enough about what it means to me.”
A 2006 Howell High School graduate and We The People veteran Jaqueline Cauley, has assisted teams with training every year since her graduation from Howell High School. She helped coach this year’s team and traveled to Washington, DC as a chaperon for the team.
Oglesby said more than 200 people contributed to raise the $52,000 needed for the group to travel to Washington, DC. The largest contribution was from the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation, which offered a matching grant of $26,000 for the cost of the trip.
While in Washington, DC, the students visited Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Carl Levin and Congressman Mike Rogers. They saw several memorials including the Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Martin Luther King and George Mason memorials, and they took tours of the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress; visited the Smithsonian Museum and the National Zoo. In addition, the group visited the National Holocaust Museum and saw the embassies on Embassy Row.
“Throughout all of these experiences, the students expanded their knowledge and understanding of the government and rights,” Oglesby said. “They continually applied what they were seeing to what they were studying. As a teacher, it was excited to watch the discussion and application of everything they have been working on.”
“Throughout all of these experiences, the students expanded their knowledge and understanding of the government and rights,” Oglesby said. “They continually applied what they were seeing to what they were studying. As a teacher, it was excited to watch the discussion and application of everything they have been working on.”]]>