Kentucky Court of Justice
Henry County Middle School is state champ in We the People: Project Citizen competition
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Henry County Middle School’s We the People: Project Citizen entry on recycling plastic water bottles is among those being considered for a national award this week after taking first place at the state level in May. The National Conference of State Legislatures is judging state-title winning Project Citizen entries from across the country during its July 22-26 legislative summit in New Orleans. The national commendations will be announced Saturday, July 26.
The 18-member Project Citizen team from Henry County Middle School prevailed over three other schools May 16 at the 2008 state showcase in Frankfort to earn the honor of competing for a national award. The team’s project was titled Make Recycling a Habit.
Winning team members who were present at the state competition were Cathryn Fischer, Ashley Jeffrey and Devon Shields, along with their coach, teacher Fran Nolin. Other team members are Shelby Abrams, Sydney Abrams, Savannah Allgeier, Amber Aneszko, Garrett Black, Rebekah Dale, Cassey Fischer, Cassie Grammer, Shelby Grigsby, Crystal Matthews, Victoria Paynter, Carlie Seligman and Emily Vegh. Many of them were not able to attend the state competition due to another school activity in Washington.
Schools that competed with Henry County Middle School at the state contest were Monticello Middle School in Monticello, New Castle Elementary School in New Castle and Shelby County East Middle School in Shelbyville. Their projects focused on voting awareness (Monticello), cyberbullying (New Castle) and student government (Shelby).
Project Citizen is a hands-on, portfolio-based civic education program that promotes participation in local and state government by teaching students the public policy process and encouraging civic involvement. The program helps participants learn how to monitor and influence public policy.
For their projects, Project Citizen teams in fifth through eighth grades identify and analyze issues and problems facing their communities and address one of the issues for their project. The issue or problem must be one that could be addressed through public policy, such as a law or regulation. The groups gather information about the issue, examine policies and develop an action plan detailing the steps that need to be taken to have the appropriate school, government or other entity implement their public policy proposal. The final product is a portfolio displaying each group’s work and an accompanying binder documenting its research. On the state level, the teams are judged based on their portfolios, binders and project presentations. The winning portfolios and binders are sent to nationals, where members of state legislatures, legislative staff and educators serve as judges. The students do not present their work at nationals and usually are not present.
The Kentucky Court of Justice and the Center for Civic Education in California are co-sponsors of the We the People: Project Citizen program. Project Citizen is one of the many youth-related programs offered through the Division of Law Related Education at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort. The Administrative Office of the Courts is the operational arm of the Kentucky Court of Justice and supports the activities of 4,000 court system employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.