AV Comp Civics places at regionals!

Some+of+Amador+Valley%27s+Comp+Civics+students+getting+ready+to+compete+this+past+weekend.

Matthew Kim

Some of Amador Valley’s Comp Civics students getting ready to compete this past weekend.

Matthew Kim and Austin Coyne

Recent Events:

This past week, the Amador Valley Competition Civics team participated in the local district and regional competitions. Hosted by Californians Advancing Civic Education (CACE), this year’s competitions were entirely on zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Known for their impressive showings year after year, Amador’s Comp Civics team has competed at the National competition sixteen times in the past seventeen years. Despite the challenges of online competitions, the current team hopes to uphold Amador’s strong reputation. 

“I think this year’s comp civics team is really great, and everyone in our class has tons of knowledge and is really driven to learn more about politics and government. I know we can do great this year and succeed,” said Comp Civics member Mark Lester (’21).

In Comp Civics, students apply their knowledge of history, philosophy, and current events by competing in mock congressional hearings which include presenting testimonies and answering Q&A from a panel of judges. The judges scored on factors including constitutional citations, responsiveness, and participation 

Last Tuesday was the very first competition of the year, at the district level. This year Amador Valley, Irvington, and Foothill faced off against one another. The district’s competition ended with a close margin between Irvington and Amador. However, Irvington managed to beat Amador for the top spot by just 4 points. Meanwhile Amador managed to score significantly higher than Foothill with a 32 point lead. 

“I felt very good about our performance considering it was our first competition, and I thought everyone did really great. There were definitely some nerves but the whole team was very prepared and knew their stuff,” said Comp Civics member Grace Chen (’21).

Just five days after district’s was the Regional Competition, once again, the three high schools competed against each other. Similarly to the district competition, Irvington won first place with 1788 points, with Amador in close second with 1765 points, and Foothill in dead last with 1702 points. 

“I think we did fairly well but there’s definitely a lot to be improved… I know the team put many hours and it did pay off, we just have more to do. Plus, I personally don’t really mind not winning, I have fun just participating in comp civics, so always getting first isn’t my priority. It’s more about learning as much philosophy I can,” said Comp Civics member Derry Xu (’21).

While usually only 2 teams from Regionals advance to States, CACE declared that all three teams would be advancing. As the Comp Civics team remains hard at work, we would like to congratulate them on their performance this week; we also wish them luck as they continue their journey to compete at the national level once again!

What is Comp Civics?

Here at Amador Valley, students interested in politics and government have the opportunity to further their interest in the subject through the class Comp Civics. This is no ordinary class and here at Amador, Comp civics consists of only one class period with around 25 students chosen to participate each year. 

Comp Civics is a nationwide program hosted by the organization, Center for Civic Education. “The Center’s mission is to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy.”

The program has schools from across the country who have the opportunity to compete at their respective district and state competitions, as well as the national competition in D.C.

“I think it’s really cool how we can participate in different competitions against schools like Foothill, but also schools across the state as well. It’s fun to compete and show our knowledge to the judges,” said Grace Chen (’21). 

The competition portion of the program revolves around a mock congressional testimony. Students are placed in one of six units in which they will specialize in certain aspects of government and politics. For example, Unit one covers philosophy, and Unit Four covers the separation of power and structure of government. 

Once in these units, the groups will focus on creating a testimony to respond to a standardized question. They must research court cases, political doctrines, and law reviews pertinent to their testimony.

This research is especially important for the Q&A of the mock congressional testimony. 

In these testimonies, participants are questioned on information relevant to their testimony. Whether these be hypotheticals, defining political doctrines, or reciting court opinions, Q&A is one of the most challenging and unique parts of Comp Civics. 

Here at Amador the Comp Civics team often performs very well. In the past seventeen years, they have moved on to the National competition sixteen times.

While this may put some pressure on the current Comp Civics team, many say they enjoy the challenge of upholding the team’s strong reputation. 

“With our past teams being really successful, I think this really just helps motivate us to work harder and try to do our best. While we recently lost to Irvington, we know we can beat them at states and hopefully can continue our competition at the National level,” said Mark Lester (‘21). 

Comp Civics is a unique and engaging class and program. For students who are truly passionate about politics and government, they can further their knowledge in the subject and challenge themselves by diving into the complexities and expansiveness of government and politics.