My favorite thing about this school year is definitely Con law. When I first signed up for the class, I was intimidated by the summer homework and the initial workload of biweekly essays and reading guides. I even considered dropping the class for fear that I couldn't handle it but when we started to work with our panels toward the actual competition all of my doubts went away.
Throughout the year we worked in a group of five with our coach Justice Melissa Hart and our teacher Ms. Hostetter to study the Constitution, case law, and government functions. We prepared statements and evidence for our state and national competitions that consisted of mock hearings. We met as a panel 2 times a week and rehearsed after school and on Sundays. While it seems like a big time commitment, all of our meetings were fun and interesting so I didn't even think of it as a task to do.
Conlaw for me means way more than a trophy or a resume builder, it has truly enhanced my knowledge of the US government that I didn’t know I was lacking. Throughout my time at East, I have often been confronted with wanting to make policy changes after something unfortunate happened. While speeches are a powerful part of making change, knowledge of how federal and state policy works as well as the processes for legislation changes are social justice skills I would never have known without con law. It’s genuinely not a boring history class but something competitive and fun that teaches useful information for the future. Not only is the content and public speaking good for everyday life, but the people within the program are some of the kindest and most intelligent students I’ve ever met.
I interviewed my panel members from this year to hear what they thought about con law. When asked why he joined the class despite the workload, Junior Reid McCarty said that he, “stuck with it because I find it fascinating and I wanted to go hang out with my friends in DC.” Additionally, another of my panel members Merle Hezel said that, “I would recommend the class to others because you get to learn a lot and have fun, also the stuff I learned is important to the world ya know.” One thing about con law that I found intimidating and I’m sure other students as well, is the exclusivity of con law. So I asked students what they thought about it. Merle Hezel said that “it’s not actually exclusive in terms of who joins the class but it is exclusive in the sense that people who don’t want to work don’t join or stay in the class.” I would agree with this as I think the exclusivity in terms of who is willing to join the class and take on the workload is a good thing. He also commented that “everybody has to keep up the work equally but the goal should be to include as many people as possible”. Another of my panel mates Lila Brimah also agreed with this saying, “Because not everyone can handle the class, not everyone should take it, it should be small.” Reid also said, “I think that it is good, everyone should have the opportunity to apply but I think people should self-select based on how much work they're willing to do.”
Overall con law is a great program that I feel is truly not exclusive in a negative way, so I encourage anyone who has an interest in government, law, or social justice to take the class and stick with it.