Five students headed to D.C. as winners of 2016 Know Your Constitution contest
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Approximately 85 students and teachers from high schools around the state took part in a luncheon last Friday at the West Des Moines Marriott in West Des Moines honoring the students for being finalists in the 2016 Know Your Constitution program. Five of those finalists, selected in a random drawing, will spend the week of Feb. 14-19 in Washington, D.C., learning more about government through a program sponsored by the Close-up Foundation.


More than 900 students representing Iowa’s state legislative districts successfully completed the multiple choice and essay questions on the U.S. Constitution that were part of this year’s contest. From the 900, the top 100 were selected to attend last Friday's luncheon. The annual contest is sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of The Iowa State Bar Association.


Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins was the keynote speaker at the luncheon. After briefly discussing the different roles of the three branches of U.S. government, he focused on the judiciary’s role as referee to ensure that no one can violate an individual’s rights guaranteed by the constitution.


Although the Know Your Constitution program focuses on the U.S. Constitution, Justice Wiggins urged the students to check Iowa’s Constitution as well. State constitutions often provide more protections than the U.S. Constitution, he said.


Photo Caption: Four of the five students and their teachers who are headed to Washington, D.C. as part of the YLD Know Your Constitution program stand with committee co-chairs Sam Langholz (far left) and Bob Gainer (far right) and Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins (second from left). Teachers and their students are (from left) John Drake and Danielle McComas, Lewis Central High School; Mandie Reynolds and Lindsey White, Riverside High School; Roland Schmidt and Ben Wetzeler, Spirit Lake High School; and Sarah Carlson and Jenis Jusufovic, Peet Jr. High School, Cedar Falls. Not pictured are student Lexie Schulz and teacher Bill Shafer from Central Springs High School.