Press Release: News Release May 2003: Statewide middle schools to compete in public policy competition:

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    News Release May 2003: Statewide middle schools to compete in public policy competition

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    For Immediate Release
      CONTACT: Christi Powers
    State Bar of Wisconsin
    (800) 444-9404, ext. 6025
    org cpowers wisbar wisbar cpowers org

    Statewide middle schools to compete in public policy competition
    State Bar of Wisconsin hosts annual We the People - Project Citizen contest

    MADISON, May 15, 2003 - Some 75 middle school students from seven schools will compete in the annual We the People - Project Citizen contest at the State Bar of Wisconsin on Saturday, May 17 at 9 a.m. Aimed at educating students on state and local government issues, the competition judges portfolios that attempt to solve current problems such as water preservation, hate crimes, drug abuse or youth violence.

    "Project Citizen helps to bring students and teachers together," said Dee Runaas, State Bar law education coordinator. "They take a particular public policy issue and develop a plan to solve the problem affecting their community."

    Those participating in this year's competition include:

    • Blessed Sacrament School, Madison - ideas to improve bus load safety zones
    • Crestwood Elementary, Madison - a plan to increase school recess time
    • DeForest Middle School - a plan to develop a connecting bike trail between Windsor and DeForest
    • Grantsburg Middle School (three projects) - how to stem teen drinking, smoking and drug abuse prevention
    • Heritage Christian Middle School, West Allis (three projects) - ideas for water conservation; youth violence prevention; and a plan to address cell phone use while driving
    • Muckey 4-H Club, Muskego - ideas to stem homeless animals and stray dogs and cats
    • Salem School, Milwaukee - a plan to prevent hate crimes
    • Shattuck Middle School, Neenah - ideas to curb sleep deprivation

    Project Citizen is a civic education program for middle school students designed to promote competent and responsible participation in state and local government. As an extracurricular project requiring dozens of student and teacher hours, the project results in a large display and student portfolio that outlines the problem, solution and alternatives to various community issues.

    "Not only do students and teachers learn from this civic education project, the community itself benefits from their work," Runaas added. "Even the judges seem to enjoy this event."

    Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Law Foundation, the Center for Civic Education, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, the competition features a panel of nearly 20 judges including attorneys, legislators, retired teachers and government leaders. Among this year's judges, Wisconsin State Journal Editor Frank Denton, Asst. Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Grobschmidt, Senator-elect Jeff Plale, Rep. Debi Towns and Terry Anderson, director of the Wisconsin Legislative Council, are scheduled to attend.

    For more information on Project Citizen and other State Bar law-related education efforts, visit or contact Dee Runaas at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6191.