Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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April 17, 2013

PHS class heads to Washington, D.C.

PLAINFIELD —  The Plainfield High School ‘We the People’ class will be competing in a national competition in Washington, D.C., later this month.

Recently, 17 PHS students competed in the state level competition that tests the knowledge on the history and principles of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The group placed second in the state and qualified for the next round in the District of Columbia.

The team is lead by PHS educator Chris Cavanaugh.

“It’s a mock congressional hearing,” Cavanaugh explained. “The kids are the expert witnesses on constitutional issues.”

The We The People class is made up of seniors completing a government elective. The class has competed in the state level competition for years but this is the first time Plainfield has qualified to go to the national competition.

“I’ve never gone as a teacher,” Cavanaugh said. “I’ve gone before to work at it as a judge but never taken students. So this is a first time for me.”

He has been teaching the class for nearly a decade and said the competition is pretty intense.

“The students are sitting across from judges and attorneys,” he said. “They’re given really difficult questions and they have no notes. It’s a real confidence builder.

“We’ve done well as a class before — we’ve even placed second before, but this year Indiana was eligible for a wild card. So all the fundraising was on us. Mr. (Scott) Olinger, our superintendent, was very supportive and said we could go for it.”

The community pitched in to help raise funds for the trip.

“At first they were going to travel by bus,” said Scott Flood, president of the Plainfield School Board. “Now they are going to get to fly and be able to see more of Washington. We live in a wonderful community that was very supportive.”

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