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Theresa Browning
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Cathedral, Plainfield High Schools to Vie in National Competition

Indiana Bar Foundation, Indiana State Bar Raising $25,000 for Civics Students

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Bar Foundation announced today that two Indiana high school teams will compete in the national civics competition We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution.

Cathedral High School, led by teacher Jill Baisinger, won the state finals in December 2016, which placed her team automatically into the competition with 53 other schools from across the nation. Baisinger teams have attended the national finals six times in her teaching career. 2017 will be her third year in six taking a high school team to nationals.

Plainfield High School finished second at the Indiana state finals and will attend as a wild card team this year. Plainfield’s team is led by Christopher Cavanagh. This is Plainfield’s second time for a team to enter the national competition.

The Foundation is working with the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) to raise $25,000 to support these two teams and the eventual winner of the Indiana High School Mock Trial competition.

The We the People educational model teaches elementary, middle and high school students about American democracy and contemporary application of the U.S. Constitution. The students compete in mock congressional hearings as witnesses on various subjects they have studied for the semester. They testify before panels of adult judges, typically attorneys, history professors, or other volunteers, and answer questions related to their topic.

The educational model has shown that students build leadership, teamwork, public speaking, research and critical thinking skills studying their subject matter and preparing their testimonies. Research shows students are more likely to vote than their peers, use facts to support their opinions and are tolerant of dissenting opinions.

The Indiana High School Mock Trial program teaches students about the American judicial system as they engage in simulated civil and criminal trials. The students act as attorneys, witnesses and defendants as they try the fictitious case. The program fosters critical thinking, public speaking and teamwork skills in freshman to senior-level students.

Last fall, the Foundation’s board approved a policy to support not only the We the People teams going to national competitions, but also the high school mock trial team. The Foundation assumed leadership for the Indiana High School Mock Trial program in 2014.

To donate to the teams, visit

The National We the People competition is April 21-24, in Washington, D.C.

The National High School Mock Trial Competition is in May in Connecticut. The team that wins the Indiana State Finals on March 3-4, 2017 will attend the national competition.

Cathedral Teacher: Jill Baisinger,
Plainfield teacher: Christopher Cavanaugh,
Indiana Bar Foundation: Collin Gruver,
Indiana State Bar Association: Tom Pyrz,

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