Platteville High School students Spencer Olds, Alex Sonsalla, Jacob Sherer and Liam Reinicke were declared champions of the WNA Foundation’s inaugural Wisconsin Civics Games March 29 at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

More than 40 students representing 11 schools competed in the finals including Big Foot High School’s Tiffany Cruz (team captain) and Max Marousek along with advisor Patrick Hollihan.

Platteville, whose team members will each receive a $2,000 scholarship to a Wisconsin college or university, faced off against Muskego High School in the championship round, winning 6-3.

WNA Foundation President Scott Peterson presented Platteville with the championship trophy and each member of the top three teams with Civics Games medals.

Before competition began on March 29, Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack provided opening remarks, addressing the importance of civics education in preparing young adults for participation in the democratic process.

`“Maintaining democracy requires that we be knowledgeable about democratic practices,” Roggensack said. “We need to remember those practices that were required to begin our democracy and are required now to sustain it.”

Gov. Tony Evers also stopped by to commend the students.

“I believe that civics education is frankly more important than ever, and the newspaper association’s work to make this opportunity available to the school districts in this state is a great step forward,” Evers said.

“The fact of the matter is it’s a much more complicated society to engage in civically. And having this competition is a good reminder that our young people are ready to be good citizens in the state of Wisconsin and in our country,” he added.

State Reps. John Macco (R-De Pere), Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), who were among the judges at their respective regional competitions, returned to serve as judges in Friday’s final competition.

WNA Foundation board member Eve Galanter, who spearheaded the Civics Games effort last year after reading about a lack of public service and civic engagement in Wisconsin, also made brief remarks.

“As a proud member of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation Board of Directors, I’m so very excited that we’re holding this inaugural year of the Wisconsin Civics Games in our state Capitol,” Galanter said in her remarks before reading a letter from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor congratulating the students on their “admirable showing.”

The WNA Foundation Board of Directors launched the Games in hopes of addressing a decline in civic education and engagement and inspiring a new generation of leaders to become involved in the political process.

Wisconsin Civics Games sponsors include the Evjue Foundation, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Local Government Institute of Wisconsin, Madison Gas & Electric Foundation,, Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies, WisconsinEye and Wisconsin Senate Scholars Program.

Regional competition sponsors were UW-Eau Claire (Barron County), UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Platteville.

Student study materials were provided by the iCivics, PBS News Hour, WisconsinEye, Wisconsin Policy Forum and Wisconsin Public Television.

In addition to Big Foot and Platteville, teams from the following schools competed in the finals: Black River Falls High School, Osceola High School, Ashwaubenon High School, Northland Pines High School, Cassville High School, Madison Memorial High School, Waunakee High School, Muskego High School and Medford Area Senior High School.


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