Sky View students win national championship at We the People competition

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Source: CVDaily Feed
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SMITHFIELD – A state championship victory by Sky View’s boys basketball team is not the only such recognition by a Bobcat team this year. In fact, the state title win in January by the school’s “We The People” team is their seventh in-a-row.

That team arrived back in the valley Wednesday night from what has become their annual trip to the national competition in Washington, DC and they had a national championship in tow. 

Coach Mike Rigby teaches a class in government and team members enroll in the class. He said involvement for students on the team lasts all year, especially if they win the state and move on to the national “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals.”

“I had 21 students on our team this year. They have been here as early as 6 o’clock in the morning and have stayed after school in the evenings, really consistently since September.

“Seniors will dedicate a good part of their year to this program.”

Four students in what Rigby calls his “Unit 1 group” in essence won a national championship, finishing ahead of 55 other teams.

“The theme of the question they faced dealt with the philosophical foundations of the American political system and the US Constitution. They discussed representative forms of government, natural rights philosophy versus classical republicanism. They had questions dealing with the Magna Carta and its impact on the US Constitutional system.

“Basically they studied and read and tried to understand the same thing the founding fathers and framers of the constitution did. It’s quite an undertaking.”

Those on the winning team are Trenton Barnard, Shane Canfield, Dylan Compton and Riley Smith.

In winning that national title Rigby said his Unit 1 group went before a three-judge  panel which included a history professor from Annapolis, a state supreme court justice from Minnesota and a law school dean from a midwest university. 

“These judges were tough; they really challenged these kids. Standing up there our team really had to think on their feet after they gave their opening statement.”

Preparation for the competition includes forming detailed responses to questions dealing with the constitution and bill of rights.

“We receive the state level questions for the new year at the end of August, presented to us by the Center of Civic Education. The themes of the questions at the state competition are similar to what we  face in the nationals but in terms of the material they have to study, it is different. 

“So, they have to start all over again if they win the state competition in January. They have to quickly prepare for the national competition which takes place at the end of April.”

Rigby also acknowledged the success of the Mountain Crest team year-after-year in the state competition.

“At State the two predominant teams for the last decade are definitely Sky View and Mountain Crest. My cohort and my teacher at Mountain Crest, who really got me started in this program, is Margaret Obray. She is retiring this year. She is one of the better Social Science teachers in the state. 

“We are fortunate to work with the best kids in America right here in this valley. We go back to Washington and demonstrate our students rank among the best in the United States and that’s an exciting thing.”