First row from the left are Emma Rutkowski, Michaella Johnson, Alexis Metz (second row) Noah Carter, Maples Haden, Nathan Bidlack, Lawson Blackmore, Reagan Priest, Noelle Heffner, Drew Bagley, Margueritte Bauer, Tabitha Saam. (Not pictured was Nate Place). (Photos submitted)
First row from the left are Emma Rutkowski, Michaella Johnson, Alexis Metz (second row) Noah Carter, Maples Haden, Nathan Bidlack, Lawson Blackmore, Reagan Priest, Noelle Heffner, Drew Bagley, Margueritte Bauer, Tabitha Saam. (Not pictured was Nate Place). (Photos submitted)

VAN WERT — Van Wert High School competed in the state We the People competition at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Feb. 1. Van Wert was named state runner-up.

There are six units in the program, each one focusing on a different aspect of the United States Constitution. As a rule, each school can only win one “Unit” award, and then an overall champion is selected based upon points accumulated throughout the competition.

Van Wert’s Outstanding Unit award for Unit 6, focused on the “Challenges the American Constitutional Democracy may face in the 21st Century” and specifically dealt with the U.S. and the Ohio Constitution. Members of Unit 6 include Lawson Blackmore, Nathan Bidlack and Hayden Maples.

Teacher Jeff Kallas had this to say, “I was so very impressed with our students today. The weather created a number of issues for our students, and I am proud to have seen their perseverance. These students can sit down with some of the best law professors and attorneys in the state of Ohio and develop a position on a topic, support it, and then inform these professionals why their position is the right one. It’s fascinating and so very rewarding.”

Findlay High School was named the state champion. “Findlay has a great reputation, and Mark Dickman, (Findlay teacher and Middlepoint Mayor) has been so helpful, but, they are a school of 2,000 students and we have 600. I am excited for our kids. Most of these students are involved in other academic and athletic programs, and perform at the highest level in all their classes. This year, Ohio has been selected as one of the 50 states to receive a ‘wild card’ entry for its runner-up. It is an honor to be invited to the National Competition held in our nation’s capital. Unfortunately, it occurs the same weekend as prom, and with many spring activities, we will have to have some serious conversations and commitments this week in class to determine if we will accept the offer,” stated Kallas.