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JHS students awarded top honors in We the People competition in NYC

Johnstown High School students who participated in the New York State’s We the People competition in New York City are pictured above with JHS social studies teacher Sean Russo. Seniors Calyer Fagan, Brianne Hansen, and Kiersten Pelosi were awarded top honors for their category in the competition. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown High School seniors Calyer Fagan, Brianne Hansen, and Kiersten Pelosi were awarded top honors for their category in the New York State We the People competition held Saturday at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in New York City, according to a news release.

We the People is a competition in which high school students create speeches that answer rigorous questions about the U.S. Constitution, government and current events. Then a panel of judges ask the students challenging open ended questions regarding their assigned topic. The students must answer the questions extemporaneously without being able to refer to notes.

Fagan, Hansen, and Pelosi were assigned to Unit 4 which required the seniors discuss the powers our nation’s Framers gave the executive branch, as well as the Framers fears of moving to a more powerful executive.

There were 18 JHS students who travelled to New York City to compete in the event. All of the students prepared for the competition as part of their Advanced Placement Politics Leadership and Economics (A.P.P.L.E.) course taught by social studies teacher Sean Russo. Johnstown faced 6 other schools from throughout the state, including NYC and Long Island.

The judges, almost all of which were lawyers, consistently complemented all of the JHS seniors for their thorough knowledge an understanding of the challenging governmental topics.

Several local community leaders helped the seniors prepare for the competition by coming into the classroom as guest judges providing the students with valuable feedback. These guest judges included Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson, Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown, Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Amanda Nellis, Fulton County Supervisor Gregory Young, Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education member Beverly Alves, and Attorney Allen Day.

The students also thank the Johnstown Parents Teachers Association as well as other local residents, whose generous donations made it possible for JHS students to participate in this valuable learning experience.

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