Mohonasen High School students Alex Wilgocki and Gabrielle Agostino traveled to Washington, D.C. as a part of the Capital Region BOCES New Visions: Law & Government team in late April to participate at the National “We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition. There, the 11-student class won the Northeastern States Award, besting 137 finalists from nine other states and the District of Columbia and made history while they were at it — this is the first time in the competition’s 29-year history that a team from New York has won the award.
The students competed alongside nearly 1,300 high school students from 40 states as they gathered in the nation’s capital to put their understanding of the American political system, the United States Constitution, history and modern political topics to the test. Five regional awards were given to the top non-finalist teams by national region, and award-winning teams had to demonstrate outstanding expertise in constitutional, political and historical knowledge. The competition simulated the setting of a congressional hearing, where students were tasked with “testifying” over two days in front of judge panels consisting of college professors and state Supreme Court justices.
Senior Gabby Agostino commented, “[This competition] was the most positive and beneficial learning experience I have ever had.”
New Visions: Law & Government is a career-exploration, honors, Advanced Placement and college credit-granting program offered by the Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical School for honors-level, college-bound high school seniors. Participating students attend classes at the New York State Education Building in downtown Albany, where they study an integrated curriculum of advanced coursework in political science, law, English and economics. The students also have opportunities to participate in government and law-related internships, job shadowing, field trips, community service projects and competitions.