HB the People


Craig Plummer

Students in HBHS’s AP U.S. Government class stand outside of the NH Legislative Building after winning their district hearing. Out of the six units of the We The People text, HB got the highest score for three units, qualifying them to move to the state level. “[Students are] always very competitive,” said AP U.S. History teacher Trevor Duval. “I’m always impressed by their depth of knowledge and understanding.” First Row (left to right) Rachel Ash ‘19, Teagan Hudzik ‘19, Kay Partridge ‘19, AP US Government teacher Trevor Duval Second Row: Zaki Quereshy ‘19, Tess Crooks ‘19, Cordelia Scales ‘19, Nicole Plummer ‘19, Robbie Dwyer ‘19 Third Row: Rachel Cerato ‘19, Caroline Smith ‘19, Jillian O’Hara ‘19, Jacob Ponders ‘19 Fourth Row: Maya Ruvido ‘19, Myah Caplan ‘19, Emma Pellerin ‘19, Tristain Hoenninger ‘19 Fifth Row: Jack Sinclair ‘19, Joe Caswell ‘19, Madoc Lewis ‘19, Alex Dougherty ‘19, Kyle Swope ‘19

Nora Miller , A&E Editor

On Dec. 7, students in Hollis Brookline High School’s AP U.S. Government class traveled to Concord, NH to compete in the district We The People hearing. HBHS students were joined by three other high schools at the NH Legislative Building to be tested on their knowledge of the US Constitution and Government. HBHS will now compete again at the state level on Jan. 11 after getting the highest score at the first hearing.

Before the hearing day, each group prepared to answer three questions framed around constitutional issues, writing up statements and preparing for additional supporting questions from the judges. On the day of the hearing, each group presented their statement about one of their three questions. They had four minutes for their statement, then were asked questions for six minutes by judges. During the entirety of the hearing, each group is graded on understanding, constitutional application, reasoning, supporting evidence, responsiveness, and participation on a scale of 1-10, from poor to excellent.

The topics for the hearing range across all constitutional areas. Each group from HBHS covered one of the six units from the We The People textbook. Nicole Plummer ‘19, Teagan Hudzik ‘19, and Cordelia Scales ‘19 focused on British influences on the colonies affected the framing of the Constitution, which is covered in Unit One.

To prepare for the hearing, AP U.S. Government students participated in practice hearings during class. “We were pretty aware of everything that the hearing was going to throw at us because Mr. Duval gave us about six of them over the course of the first semester,” said Jack Sinclair ‘19.

Despite some of the stress that comes with preparing for and taking part in these hearings, students seemed to enjoy the experience. “We had a really good back-and-forth going with the judges [during the Q&A section],” said Plummer. “We were all kind of geeking out together,” she said.  By working in groups of three or four, students were able to not only work off of one another to improve their performance, but also share their interests and have a fun time.

With the state hearing coming up, each group is working to prepare for a new set of questions.

Using the same units, each group will be presenting two of their questions unlike before. “All the groups have found that the questions for the state competition are a little more opinion-based, focusing more on making arguments that aren’t going to be the same across the board,” said Plummer.

HBHS has been participating in the We The People program since the 2014-2015 school year.

After a year of teaching AP US Government, Duval decided to include the program in his curriculum to add to the practice that the College Board curriculum called for. “It helps to lay down a foundational understanding of the Constitution,” said Duval. Recently, though, College Board has added a product requirement for the US Government course, where We The People is one of the suggested options for this requirement.

Historically, HB has done well in the We The People hearings and has been improving their scores over the years. One of the toughest teams to beat in NH is Milford, who has been a part of the We The People program for about 20 years. In the past, HB lost to Milford in the state round by only two of the 2160 possible points to be earned during the day. Many schools have an advantage over HBHS, with specific We The People classes and more class time, but despite that, the students are “always extremely competitive,” said Duval. “We’ve been giving Milford a run for their money,” he said.

The AP U.S. Government class is expecting another successful hearing. No matter their score, though, the competition will be a great learning experience for everyone involved.