Milford aces Constitution contest with its ‘We the People’ team going to Washington

MILFORD – Late night study sessions at the Red Arrow Diner paid off for the Milford High School We the People team.

In Concord on Jan. 10, Milford won the state competition for the 12th year out of the 16 years of the team’s existence.

The 11-member team and two helpers “excelled big time … with a tremendous display of Constitutional knowledge,” said coach David Alcox in a phone interview.

Milford shut out the competing teams – Merrimack, John Stark and Nashua North and South – which means they’ll be heading to Washington, D.C., from April 25-28 for the national competition.

“John Stark excelled in the morning session, but by afternoon, we turned it around,” Alcox said.

The contest is set up like a congressional hearing in the Legislative Office Building. Among the questions this year were those about the Magna Carter (What principles of modern constitutional law were set forth in the Magna Carter?) and the Declaration of Independence (What ideas about government and its purpose are set forth in the Declaration?).

Judges included Howard Zibel, general counsel for the New Hampshire Supreme Court, along with state representatives, former state representatives and other dignitaries. Judges for the national contest will be some of the country’s best Constitutional scholars.

Studying for the contest began in August, because there is “a huge learning curve,” Alcox said. He has been teaching the class and coaching the teams since We the People started in Milford as American History 1 in the late 1990s.

Because there were only 11 team members this year, some of them had to do twice as much work, “allowing them to branch off into other areas and they were very, very good,” he said.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland