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River Bluff High School of Lexington and Palmetto Academy of Myrtle Beach won the South Carolina Bar’s We the People competition held on December 3. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the competition was held virtually.
Led by teacher coach Linsy Dooley, the River Bluff High School team brought home its fourth high school state championship title, and Wilson Hall High School of Sumter was the first runner-up. River Bluff will next advance to the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals held virtually on April 24-27, 2021.
Led by teacher coach BJ Decerbo, the Palmetto Academy team brought home its first middle school championship title and will next advance to the National Invitational Competition, which will be held virtually on May 1-3, 2021.
“We the People is an important program that gifts students with a hands-on approach to learning and understanding the Constitution and their rights,” said Cynthia H. Cothran, the SC Bar’s Law Related Education director. “Despite the pandemic, the South Carolina Bar was grateful to offer students the opportunity to take part in the competition virtually, and we were especially appreciative of our outstanding student competitors, dedicated teachers and volunteers who made the event a success.”
The annual We the People competition is a simulated congressional hearing in which students "testify" before a panel of judges. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
This year, 46 competition judges, consisting of 41 South Carolina lawyers and judges, volunteered for the virtual event. Over the course of the day, ten teacher coaches and 164 middle and high school students participated in a total of 100 mock Congressional hearings.
The We the People program is sponsored by the SC Bar’s Law Related Education (LRE) Division, which was developed in 1976 to improve the ability of teachers to instruct law related education. The program is supported by the Bar’s LRE Committee and made possible through a SC Bar Foundation Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts grant and the SC Bar.
Interested in getting involved with other Law Related Education Division events? There’s still time to volunteer as an attorney coach or judge for the virtual 2021 Mock Trial competitions! Sign up to help with the program and earn pro bono hours while you’re at it.