Hills East Tops in State Constitutional Law Contest
Monday 05 Apr 2010
Michael R. Ebert
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Teens at Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills recently proved the extent of their constitutional knowledge in a big way.
The school's team beat nine other groups last month to take first place in We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution, a statewide contest of mock congressional hearings on U.S. Constitution topics, held in Albany.
The team will compete against 50 others at the national finals in Virginia on April 24.
"It's a lot of hard work, and they're seeing the reward of it," said social studies teacher and team adviser Scott Edwards. "That reward is knowledge."
The competition requires six four-member units from each school to make brief speeches on predetermined topics such as the history and philosophy of the Constitution. Then they answer questions from a panel of lawyers and government leaders serving as judges.
To reach the state level the Dix Hills team took first place at the Long Island level in January. Smithtown High School East and Herricks High School also reached the state finals.
"We're putting in 100 percent," said Half Hollow Hills East senior Chelsea Renter, who is team co-president with Jason Stern, also a senior. "The nationals will be the most intense yet, but we have a good chance."
The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and run locally by the New York State Bar Association.