Top Two Teams to Represent Missouri in “We the People” Contest

Westminster Christian Academy and Joplin High School to Compete at the 27th Annual “We the People” National Finals in Washington, D.C.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – More than 30 students from across the state competed Monday in The Missouri Bar sponsored “We the People” statewide simulated congressional hearings held at the Missouri State Capitol. Westminster Christian Academy of St. Louis and Joplin High School won the honor of representing Missouri at the national “We the People” competition held April 25-28 in Washington, D.C.

Students demonstrated their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and our system of government in mock hearings, where students testified about and discussed issues such as the importance of an educated and engaged citizenry, gun regulation and the amendment process. A panel of judges, compiled of lawyers, judges, educators and political scientists, evaluated the students’ knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“James Madison stated in The Federalists Papers that the only way that the system of government that the framers envisioned in the Constitution would prevail was for the citizenry to be educated,” Millie Aulbur, Director of Citizenship Education for The Missouri Bar said. “James Madison and his fellow framers would have been quite pleased with Missouri’s We the People students. These students and their teachers have worked diligently to come to a deep understanding of our system of government and it was aptly demonstrated Monday.”

“We the People” is a nationally acclaimed civic education program helping students understand the history, philosophies and evolution of our constitutional government. Upon completion of the classroom study, students compete in the form of simulated congressional hearings.

Joplin High School senior students Kush Bhakta and Renee Walker said they appreciate studying the U.S. Constitution.

“It is important to learn about our fundamental rights and apply these rights in our daily life,” said Bhakta.

“There are a lot of new and bright things that the state of Missouri offers. It is great to learn about views of our founders and important things about our country,” Walker said.

Maren Osterholt and Lance Richards, senior high school students from Westminster Christian Academy, said they were excited to head to Washington D.C. for the national contest.

“It is such a great opportunity,” Richards said. “I hope we will do a great job.”

Osterholt encouraged others to learn more about the U.S. Constitution.

“If you call yourself an American, you should learn a little bit about your government and get a basis of the current situation,” she said.

Students representing Westminster Christian Academy were: Morgan Koetting, Audrey Dodds, Andrea Williams, Lance Richards, Dominic Franceschelli, Tristan Becker, Chad Maxey, Theodore Muschany, Hannah Caple, Anna Lindstrom, Julia Alpert and Maren Osterholt.

Students representing Joplin High School were: Samuel Belnap, Kush Bhakta, Samantha Bradfield, Brooks Butler, Drew Cox, Brett Holcomb, Adelle Kanan, Raquel Leyva, Christine Miranda, Kitty O'Connor-Box, Matthew Riechman-Bennett, Alexander Salgado, Renee Walker and Laela Zaidi.

The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers' Section funds the statewide hearings covering the cost of transportation, lodging and food for all of the participants.

The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program has served as the state coordinator for the program since 1999. Until 2011, the program was funded by Congress. The Missouri Bar Foundation now provides additional funding to support the program throughout Missouri. Simulated congressional hearings are held locally across the state in Grades 5-12.

The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing attorneys. To achieve its mission, The Missouri Bar provides a wide range of services and resources to its members, as well as the media, educators and the citizens of Missouri. 

For photos of the event, please click here.


MoBar Quick Info

Organization and Purpose: The Missouri Bar is the statewide organization that all Missouri lawyers must belong to if they practice law. The Missouri Bar was created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri. It is considered an instrumentality of the state, not a private association nor a state agency. Its mission is to improve the legal profession, the administration of justice, and law on behalf of the public.

Member Size: Currently, the bar is comprised of about 32,000 members.

Staff Size: The executive director, Sebrina Barrett, supervises a staff of 50 employees. Click here to see a Staff Directory

Budget: Approximately $10 million. No tax dollars are used to support Missouri Bar activities. Most money is derived from dues that lawyers pay; some is derived from CLE programs and publications, grants and The Bar Foundation.

Governance: The Board of Governors of The Missouri Bar determines policies and sets the course of action for the state bar to follow. The 45 members of the Board are elected by bar members. The Board elects a president, president-elect and vice president to serve as officers of the bar.

Sections and Committees: The Missouri Bar offers more than 50 substantive law committees for its members to join. It also has two sections: a Family Law Section, and the Young Lawyers' Section.

Location: The Missouri Bar Center is located in Jefferson City, at 326 Monroe St.

Missouri Bar Resources and Activities: The Missouri Bar provides a wide variety of services and resources, not only to its members, but also to the news media, school teachers and the citizens of Missouri. These include: CLE programs and publications, an Annual Meeting, a Solo and Small Firm Conference, teachers’ programs, committee meetings and extensive services for attorneys. The bar also administers a minimum continuing legal education requirement for attorneys.