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WACS students attend state governmental competition

April 16, 2015
Westfield Republican


For a dozen Westfield Academy and Central School students who traveled to Albany recently, those students have a better understanding of the what it means to be an American citizen.

Article Photos

Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Greg Birner, right, presents to the Westfield Board of Education Monday. Birner teaches a We the People class where students learn to competent citizens. Students traveled to Albany earlier this year to compete in a regional We the People competition. Westfield placed sixth in the competition.

The students, under the supervision of teacher Greg Birner participated in a semester-long class for We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. Students traveled to Albany to compete against other schools from across the region. Birner explained WACS was the "only school this side of Syracuse" to compete.

"(The class) is the most in depth government study program you can find," Birner said adding many students opt to not take the course due to the workload.

Birner along with three students attended Monday's Westfield Board of Education meeting to discuss their experience. The students had to do a four minute presentation in a mock congressional hearing on a pre-determined topic followed by a six minute question and answer session facilitated by three judges. Students are then graded on their performance and while the students from WACS came in sixth place out of six teams, Birner said he is still proud of the students. During the meeting, a video was shown of the students competing. Superintendent David Davison was impressed by the student's answers and presentation.

"Your responses were so well orchestrated ... that tells me you all had a great, well rounded understanding (of the topic)," he said.

Students Kaitlyn Meegan, John Work and Emma Mason were among the students who traveled to Albany. WACS was the only school "this side of Syracuse" to compete, Birner said. Each of the students explained what their experience was like and what their favorite part of the class was. Mason said she enjoyed getting to know her fellow classmates in a "whole new way." Work said he now sees how current events affect society and admitted he never paid attention to them prior to the class. Meegan said working as a team and helping each other out was one of her favorite parts.

"It's a sense of a team, we are together," Meegan said.



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