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Early College Academy to Compete at National Mock Senate Hearings in D.C.

Seventeen students from the Early College Academy, the Lafayette School of Choice located on South Louisiana Community College’s campus, will be competing in Washington, D.C. on April 22-24 in a National Mock Senate Hearing through the We the People program. Early College Academy students led by Law I instructor Vickie Hebert and speech and debate coach Amanda L. Guidry will represent the first school from Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District to compete at the national level and is only one of 53 teams in the nation at this year’s competition.

The program, designed to teach students about the U.S. Constitution and Civics education, competence, and responsibility, started in California in 1987 and soon gained national attention, eventually being funded by Congress until five years ago. The curriculum teaches the information and promotes class discourse on Constitutional issues that provide students with the foundation to bolster their understanding of and to create informed opinions about government, as well as encourages students to become active participants in government.

During the course of the program, students form teams that become experts on the six units in the curriculum. The teams research and answer detailed and complex questions based on these units, utilizing Constitutional Law, historical evidence, current events, and court cases to defend their answers. They then present their essays before a panel of judges, after which the judges question them in detail about their understanding of the unit.

According to the Center for Civic Education, “Since its inception in 1987, approximately 30 million students have used the We the People curriculum…. We the People students scored significantly higher than university students when tested on knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

“We the People allows us to communicate and see our differences on various topics that greatly affect us and that we have previous opinions about,” said Lenika Billera, a sophomore at the Early College Academy. “It gives us the ability to gain more knowledge in order to strengthen our opinions.”

EARLY COLLEGE ACADEMY’s team competed in state during the Louisiana competition held on January 29 in Baton Rouge and is eligible to compete as a wild card at Nationals. The entire venture will cost more than $26,000, and the group is hosting multiple fundraisers, as well as asking for sponsorships and donations. For more details about sponsoring a student and/or donating, e-mail Vickie.Hebert@solacc.edu or Amanda.Guidry@solacc.edu. Donations can be dropped off at the school or mailed in with a Donation/Sponsorship form downloaded from the Early College Academy Facebook page.