Nixa takes top honors in Show-Me the Constitution competition
Nixa High School took top honors Dec. 9 when students went head-to-head online at The Missouri Bar’s Show-Me the Constitution competition. Second place went to Central High School in Springfield, while Kickapoo High School, also in Springfield, secured third place.
The mock-Congressional hearing competition presents students with questions pertaining to Constitutional issues surrounding current events, which they research in advance to prepare oral presentations. Once the students present, contest judges ask additional questions to gauge the students’ knowledge and understanding of the Constitution as well as the topic. This year’s topics included the Second Amendment and gun violence, the use of the 1807 Insurrection Act during this summer’s protests, and the Civil Rights Act as it pertains to discrimination based upon sexual orientation.
Although presenting in an online format was a new challenge, the students were universally commended for their ability to pivot effectively to the new system and provide thoughtful and well researched answers for the given topics. The Missouri Bar launched Show-Me the Constitution in 2015 but has coordinated a mock-congressional hearing competition since 1999. The program is sponsored by The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section and the state bar’s Citizenship Education program.
This year’s competition included 29 students from four schools participating in 24 rounds of competition, each with three judges scoring points based on constitutional application, reasoning and supporting evidence. Judges included several lawyers and judges as well as Supreme Court of Missouri Judge W. Brent Powell, Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon and 2020-21 Missouri Bar President John Gunn.
Powell said he was impressed with the student participants.
“Their engagement and knowledge of the Constitution and law were inspiring and heartens my faith that our future remains bright in their capable hands.”
Arden Fraley, a junior at Kickapoo High School in Springfield wasn’t fazed by the format.
“Despite not being able to attend in person, connecting with experienced individuals virtually and discussing the inner working of our courts and legislation reminded me that we will always find ways to solve problems and adapt to new circumstances.”
“Although it wasn’t a perfect replication of the magic of the in-person Show Me the Competition, the essential elements of the program were very much in evidence: the expertise, experience and caring of the judges, as well as the potential, dedication and commitment of the students,” said Dr. Tony Simones, director of the Citizenship Education program. “Those attributes came through, even in a virtual environment.”
Russ Sackreiter, another competition judge, applauded The Missouri Bar’s Citizenship Education Department for attempting the competition in a virtual environment.
“The pandemic has tossed many challenges our way, but the department always finds a way to improvise, adapt and overcome,” said Sackreiter. “The research these students have done to find Constitutional principles and case law to support their position is beyond belief.”
“The heartbeat of democracy requires a knowledgeable and engaged citizenry, so I was delighted to be a part of this outstanding program promoting civics education and citizenship,” added Powell.
The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing attorneys. To learn more about The Missouri Bar, visit MoBar.org and MissouriLawyersHelp.org.
Click here to learn more about the Missouri Bar’s Citizenship Education program.