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RES 5th-Graders Selected for Citizenship Challenge Finals

January 4, 2021

Radnor Elementary School 5th-Graders Participate in Virtual Citizenship Challenge Finals


Collage of images Radnor Elementary School students Claire Haines, Emily Negrey and Emelia Selbach had one word to describe how they felt when they learned they were selected for the 2020 Citizenship Challenge finals: excited.

The students, who are in Kaitlin McAuliffe's 5th-grade class, earned a spot in the finals for their essay response to this year's Citizenship Challenge prompt: "Should the Constitution be amended to eliminate the Electoral College system for selecting the President and be replaced with the national popular vote?"

"I was very excited when I found out that we made it to the finals," Emily said. "It was a great opportunity for us to learn about the Electoral College."

"I felt super excited to be selected...not many people got selected but we did," Claire said.

The Challenge was open to 4th and 5th grade classes enrolled in public, private, or parochial school, or home study programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The essays were judged on four areas: focus, content development, organization and style. Eleven other finalists, selected from more than 100 entries across the state, joined the RES team and their classmates in the virtual finals on December 15 over Zoom.

During the event, the finalists defended their essays judges to Governor Ed Rendell, Judge Marjorie Rendell and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris and went on a virtual tour of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

"My favorite part of the virtual Citizenship Challenge was presenting/answering the questions," Claire said. "It was fun because we got to talk to important people. I was really nervous but after we presented I felt so happy because we did a good job!"

"My favorite part was getting a tour of the Constitution Center with the whole class," Emily said.

The annual Citizenship Challenge is hosted by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement. The contest draws from PA Civics standards relating to principles and documents of government; rights and responsibilities of citizens; and information on how government works.

"It was an amazing opportunity," Emelia said. 

Pictured (clockwise, from top left): Claire Haines, Emily Negrey and Emelia Selbach; Kaitlin McAuliffe's 5th-grade class waves hello to the other finalists on Zoom; Kaitlin McAuliffe sets up Zoom feed for Claire Haines, Emily Negrey and Emelia Selbach; Kaitlin McAuliffe's 5th-grade class watches introduction by Rendell Center Executive Director Beth Specker.