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Alumnus coaches first-place national constitution team

June 11, 2012

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Tim Swinehart, an alumnus of the M.A.T. social studies program, coached this year’s winning team in the national We the People contest. Swinehart is the teacher of the constitution class at Lincoln High School in Portland.

This is the second time in four years that Lincoln has placed among the top teams under Swinehart’s direction (the team took fourth place in 2010). The city of Portland threw a parade for the winners at which mayor Sam Adams read a proclamation in the team’s honor. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer entered a commendation for the team into the Congressional Record. Representative Suzanne Bonamici honored the Lincoln team on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The team is very dedicated and has studied for months and it shows,” said Swinehart. “We are proud to have another opportunity to represent Oregon.”

According to an article about the national win in the Oregonian, the constitution team has six units of six members, each studying a different facet of the U.S. Constitution. In the national competition, the separate units come before judges as if in a congressional hearing, and are quizzed on the content, history, influence and flexibility of the Constitution. The championship round was held in congressional hearing rooms on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The judges for the event included 36 state and federal judges, constitutional scholars, and other civic leaders, including two Oregon Supreme Court judges.

One student reported that judges met with Lincoln’s team after the competition and urged the students to aspire to public office.

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