INDIANAPOLIS | Fifth-grade students from four Northwest Indiana schools earned top ratings in a We the People competition at the Statehouse on Friday by demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of government and the Constitution.
The boys and girls spoke before panels of judges from the Indiana Bar Association about current events and how they relate to the nation's laws and founding principles.
They also answered specific questions about the organization of government and the role of the Constitution in protecting individual rights.
Earning the highest designation — superior — were three classes from Grimmer Middle School in Schererville; two classes from Clark Middle School in St. John; and one class from Frank Hammond Elementary School in Munster.
Two classes from Kahler Middle School in Dyer won the second-highest designation — outstanding.
Karen Finley, a Clark teacher, said she's been amazed to watch her students get excited about government. Her class began studying the We the People civics education topics in January and practiced presentations for more than a month.
"They have learned so much about the amendments, due process, civil rights and the framers of the Constitution," Finley said. "It's been extremely beneficial."
During the awards ceremony, Gov. Mike Pence told the more than 350 participants from across Indiana that he was proud of their accomplishments and commitment to citizenship. He urged them to never stop learning about their government.
"Continue to read and study and prepare, because you live in the greatest state in the greatest nation in the history of the world," Pence said.