Held April 30–May 2, 2011, in Washington D.C., the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals is the annual culminating event of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution high school program. Classes qualify for this national championship by competing in their congressional districts and placing first in their state competitions.
The competition takes the form of simulated congressional hearings. During the hearings, students testify as constitutional experts before panels of judges acting as a congressional committee. The 72 judges represent each state in the nation, Washington D.C. and a variety of professional fields.
Each class in the competition is divided into six groups, one group for each of the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution high school textbook. The testimony begins with a formal presentation by one or more students from one of the unit groups. The presentation is followed by a period of questioning during which judges probe students for their depth of understanding and their ability to apply constitutional knowledge. The format provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles while providing judges with an excellent means of assessing students' knowledge and their application of this knowledge to constitutional issues.
While in Washington D.C., students will have the opportunity to tour our nation's capital and meet with members of Congress and other important dignitaries. Travel, lodging, and tour arrangements for students are made by WorldStrides. The Center for Civic Education organizes all other aspects of the national finals.
The 2011 National Finals is funded by the Center for Civic Education, state donors, and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation in partnership with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Since the inception of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program in 1987, more than 30 million students and 90,000 teachers have participated in the program. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by Congress and directed by the Center for Civic Education.