By John Anderson
When the Auburn High School “We The People” team won the State Championship on January 25th, there were accolades all around. The 35 students and their teachers Spencer Kennard and Vincent Benacchio were heralded by the event judges at Harvard, Superintendent Maryellen Brunelle, local media, and the Auburn Board of Selectmen amongst others.
At the February 10th Selectmen’s meeting, some of the students displayed their knowledge of topics related to the Constitution and Bill Of Rights, and they did a magnificent job. In late April, Auburn will represent the Commonwealth in the national competition. There is only one problem, and it’s a big one – $47,000.
Not only do the students have to pay for transportation, housing and meals, but they must also contribute to the cost of running this event since the Government no longer funds it.
While fundraising efforts are underway, there is a short window to get this done. I do not believe that attending this event should fall on Auburn’s collective shoulders entirely since the team is representing Massachusetts in its entirety.
In an era where it often appears that some congressmen have never read the Constitution or understand the Bill of Rights, the failure by Washington to keep this program going is yet another national embarrassment.
According to Auburn High history teacher Spencer Kennard, who made it to the Nationals while in high school, “At one point congress covered for every single state: the airfare, part of the lodging, cost of judges, and facility fees. They also gave students $100 for food and vouchers for museums/events, hosted a huge formal dance that all states went to, and put us in really nice accommodations. Now congress funds nothing.”
Here is my thought, since Auburn is representing Massachusetts, Massachusetts should pay for the cost. Let’s ask all of the senators and representatives at the state and national level to lend a hand.
Many congressmen have huge war chests, and maybe we can help pry them open. When re-election accomplishments are listed, supporting this program would certainly be a feather in one’s cap. New candidates in this year’s election should also consider the impact of helping, or not.
Communities from Truro to Hancock are represented in congress, and all the communities in between are as much a part of Massachusetts as Auburn is. Let’s put in some requests to all congressmen and ask for a little assistance.
If extra funds are collected, they can be banked to assist the next school to have this honor and this burden.
This is not a field trip. “We The People” is government in action, not inaction.
You can find your representative’s e-mail address here:
You can find your state senator’s e-mail address here: