The Constitution Club

By Sophie Brown, Reporter

Sadie Adams, social sciences teacher at Cleveland, is introducing a new club this year called the Constitution Club. They will compete against schools like Grant and Lincoln in competitions with questions from the book, “We the People.

Although it is only a club this year, next year it will become a class with a vigorous application process to get in. Once all members are selected, the team will split into six units, and each will be given three questions from the book to answer. After a semester of preparation, the class will compete in two competitions, regionals and state. In the competitions they will construct a four minute answer to each question, followed by six minutes of answering questions from the judges. Unlike most team competitions, the schools will answer their questions separately, never coming face to face during the competition. This is a method for scoring that promotes impartiality.

“It’s supposed to be unbiased. They aren’t supposed to mark rooms or things like that so that the judges come in with an unbiased view,” said Adams.

We the People was put out by the Center for Civics Education. A mix of American history and inquiries about its government, and this book is the main preparation and requirement for those interested in Adams’ class. It connects past and present to explain why the U.S. government runs the way it does.

“It’s a questioning approach rather than a just ‘here’s all your information’ approach. It’s a book that I already use with my government classes right now,” says Adams.

Portland schools, Grant and Lincoln, both have thoroughly successful Constitution teams. For five years now, they’ve alternated winning the state competition, and then travelling to Washington D.C. for the national competition. It’s about time someone shook things up, and Adams is taking strategy from both teams in the hopes of making a winning team at Cleveland. She wanted to compete in a January competition, but there wasn’t enough time to prepare.

“I know that their system works, so we’re figuring out what things we want to take and use at Cleveland, and what things we maybe don’t want to be involved with. So far the kids have decided to be pretty doggone competitive,” said Adams.

Right now, 20 students are fully committed to the class, with an end goal of at least 24 students, and ideally 36. This class will take the place of a government credit if students can get through the application process. It’s also open to juniors and seniors as a social studies elective.

At the moment, the club meets every other Wednesday after school, in room 386. Their next meeting is on Dec. 16. Anyone looking to join is encouraged to stop on by.