Fort Wayne & NE Indiana News

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North Side First In Region To Compete In We The People Finals

North Side High School students will compete in the national We the People annual finals in Washington, D.C. in April. This marks the first time a school from Northeast Indiana will be represented at the national level. The team from North Side, led by teacher Matthew Mertes, has been selected as the Warren E. Burger Class, which honors students from a high-need school who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. Mertes and his class were nominated by We the People State Coordinator, Lily Lawson; only one class nationwide was selected for the honor.

The North Side students are being supported by the Allen County Bar Foundation, which has agreed to fully fund their trip to Washington, D.C. The Foundation is also organizing the legal community to help the students prepare for this rigorous academic competition. The Indiana Tech Law School is actively assisting them in this process. The Allen County Public Library is providing material for use in research and space for preparation as necessary.

“We truly appreciate the support of community partners like the Allen County Bar Foundation, Indiana Tech Law School and the Allen County Public Library in helping us prepare our students for the challenging We the People competition,” Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “Engaging parents and the community is one of our major goals that help us achieve our mission of educating all students to high standards enabling them to become productive, responsible citizens.”

The We the People program, conducted by the Center for Civic Education, promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. More than 28 million students and 75,000 educators have participated in the program since its inception in 1987. A nationwide We the People competition is held yearly. State and regional competitions culminate in a National Championship, this year to be held at the University of Maryland near Washington, D.C. April 22-25. Each state and D.C.’s winning teams are invited along with the Warren E. Burger Class and four wild card teams for a total of 56 competitors.

“It is unfortunate that each year some teams are unable to attend due to financial restraints,” said Martin E. Seifert, President of the Allen County Bar Foundation Board. “We want to ensure that the North Side students can take advantage of this wonderful educational opportunity, so we are raising money to fully fund their trip.”

More information about the We the People competition can be found at