From AV to DC: competition civics team wins We the People state championships


Soraia Bohner

The entire team poses with their coaches, Stacey Sklar, Samuel Weaver, and Marie Wohlgemuth, after securing the California State title.

“And the California Gold Winning, State Champion Team is… Amador Valley High School!”

This past weekend, the Amador Valley Competition Civics Team won Gold at the California State Championships. The students bested five other teams, including their rival, Foothill High School. As of now, the team is undefeated, having won the District, Regional, and State Champion title.

Out of the six units on the team, four ranked top in the state. This was a huge feat for the team, especially considering that the 2021 team did not make it to nationals.

“Everyone worked really hard and it’s so crazy that it has all come together. Everyone was nervous before states but everyone ended up killing it,” said Jayani Chidipotu (‘22).

Both Foothill and Amador advanced to the National Finals, typically held in Washington D.C; Amador will represent as the champion team in the wildcard spot. This special slot is awarded to large states like California and Texas, making it more fair in terms of representation at the national level. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the national competition will be online., The team plans to take a trip to D.C. nevertheless.

“It’s a little disappointing to not go [to Nationals] in-person but it will be interesting to see how we adapt to the circumstances,” said Chidipotu. 

No matter how they rank at Nationals, the team is excited to see, well, “the room where it happens.” In D.C, they will visit Philadelphia Hall, Lincoln Memorial, and many other historical landmarks.

“I’m excited to see where our country was born. Where all the meetings happened, and still happen today. It will really tie together our year, especially since our trip is after nationals,” said Tom Li (‘22).

What Comes Next?

Now that the state competition is over, the team has just over two months to prepare for the national competition. Each unit has a new set of questions to prepare for. With competitors from civically advanced states like Colorado and Oregon, the AV team has a long road ahead of them.

“We’re gonna have to double down and work harder than we’ve ever worked before to place at nationals… I’m excited to see how this team progresses,” said We the People Coach Stacey Sklar.

Amador has a history of scoring within the top ten of over 60 teams from across the country. They have placed as high as second place, but this year, the Dons are looking for Gold, for the first time in Nationals.                                                            

“Going to nationals is more exciting than scary because I know we are prepared, but there’s always that ‘what if’ aspect of competitions,” said Diya Raghavan.

For now, the team is taking the week off from discussing the founding fathers and debating Locke’s constitutional philosophy. The team spends an average of 30 hours a week outside of school perfecting their testimonies, so a much needed break is in order for these I-9 Seniors. 

“With all the hours I’ve spent studying [the] founding fathers, debating the effectiveness of federalism, and arguing over the best form of government, I’m excited for one week off to enjoy myself,” said Li.

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  • From left to right: Jonah Wang (’22), William Huang (’22), Ryan Nava (’22), and Jerry Than (’22) prepare to testify for the first time. As the first unit to present, they had added pressure to preform well.

  • From Left to Right: Margaret Huai (’22), Lois Hong (’22), Jasmine Chen (’22), Honore Alexander (’22), Jonah Wang (’22), Ryan Nava (’22), and Jerry Han represent Amador’s Units 1 and 6. As “sister units”, they relied on each other for critiques and guidance.

  • Amador and Foothill’s We the People team’s take a group photo after competing. Though they are rivals, both teams wanted the two nationals spots to go to the Pleasanton teams.

  • From left to right: Yash Totale (22′), Diya Rhagavan (’22), Siona Mondal (’22), Anjali Ramesh (’22), Leah Allari (’22), Jayani Chidipotu (’22) and Evette Allari (’22) pose on the capital steps, excited to have some free time after hours of work.

  • From Left to Right: Akash Madiraju (’22), Jaiteg Chahal (’22), Tom li (’22), Om Khangoankar (’22), Soraia Bohner (’22), Sanika Newadkar (’22), and Edward Ding (’22) gather in front of the state capital. Their units worked closely together over the past months and hoped to see their hard work pay off.