Kentucky Court of Justice
Henry County Middle School earns top rating in national We the People: Project Citizen showcase
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Henry County Middle School’s We the People: Project Citizen entry on recycling plastic water bottles recently earned the top rating of Superior at the national Project Citizen showcase in New Orleans. The team’s project was titled Make Recycling a Habit.
Judges, who are members of state legislatures, legislative staff and educators, scored school entries from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Guam that had won on the state level. They rated projects from 23 schools as Superior, 21 as Exceptional and five as Outstanding and gave an Honorable Mention to one school. Points determine the ratings: Superior – 41-50 points; Exceptional – 31-40 points; Outstanding – 21-30 points; and Honorable Mention – 0-20 points.
The 18-member Project Citizen team from Henry County Middle School prevailed over two other middle schools and an elementary school at the state showcase May 16 in Frankfort to earn the honor of participating in the national showcase. Team members were Shelby Abrams, Sydney Abrams, Savannah Allgeier, Amber Aneszko, Garrett Black, Rebekah Dale, Cassey Fischer, Cathryn Fischer, Cassie Grammer, Shelby Grigsby, Ashley Jeffrey, Crystal Matthews, Victoria Paynter, Carlie Seligman, Devon Shields and Emily Vegh. Teacher Fran Nolin coached the team.
The national showcase was held July 22-26 in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislatures legislative summit.
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. Project Citizen teams comprised of middle school students are eligible to have their projects judged at state and national showcases.
For their projects, Project Citizen teams identify and analyze issues and problems facing their communities and address one of the issues for their project. The issue or problem must have the potential to 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 necessary steps 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 judged at the national showcase. 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 Department of Court Services, Division of Training, at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort. The AOC 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.