WTP places fourth in States competition


Angela Chan

Irvington’s WTP poses at their final competition in Golden Valley High School.

Ayush Patel, Student Life Editor and Staff Writer

On Feb. 4, Irvington’s We The People (WTP) Team placed fourth at the WTP State competition at Golden Valley High School in Bakersfield. After qualifying to go to states at the district competition in December, the team prepared for a chance to make nationals. In preparation for the competition, the class, which is divided into six units, spent several months preparing their testimonies –a series of questions followed by a four minute speech answering those questions.

“We practiced everyday during class and after school and perfected the testimonies by taking Ms Jorgenson and Mr. Martinez’s suggestions,” Unit 2 member Aneesha Kumar said. “In preparation for states, we brainstormed with our team and received lots of help from last year’s class.”

After presenting their testimonies, each unit must complete an eight minute spontaneous Q&A session during which a panel of judges ask questions pertaining to the unit’s testimony.

“The Q&A is the meat of the scoring process,” Unit 4 member Ben Ye said. “There is no ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’, or ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, answer, so teams are encouraged to be creative and use whatever information they can. The best Q&A’s address the question, give opinions, and even disagree with the judges.”

In preparation for states, the team had to dig deeper for content in comparison to their previous competitions in order to excel in Q&A.

“Unlike their Regionals and District competitions, in which the WTP team read textbook explanations of philosophers and supreme court cases,” WTP advisor Ms. Jorgensen said. “The WTP team read more about the supreme court decisions and the original text from philosophers for states.”

Although the team placed fourth in the competition, Irvington was only 110 points –out of a total of 2160 possible points– behind first place, losing by a small margin.

“Each category on the grading rubric is out of ten for each unit,” Ye said. “If each unit had received one or two points in each category, we could have have had a chance to place first or second.”

Irvington High School is the only high school in the FUSD with a WTP team. Both, Ms. Jorgenson and Mr. Martinez, who also helps coach the team, have been a part of the We The People program.

“It’s really a privilege to be a part of We The People,” Mr. Martinez said. “Most schools don’t offer this kind of comprehensive curriculum, and we’re going over things that are part of law school curriculums. It’s really a once in a life-time opportunity to build a solid foundation in civic and social science studies.”