MAST Academy holds a new record: the school has reached Nationals in We the People for the second year in a row.
We the People is a federally-funded program in which high school students form teams that work together to formulate a speech based on a specific concept or theme in United States history that is assigned to them. Each school offers six teams for six specific subjects in government, and each one must recite their speech and answer follow-up questions in the ten-minute time slot.
Social studies teacher Kevin Mullin is responsible for the organization of the competition, and hosts his own class-against-class competition in order to decide which class goes to Districts.
The second period AP Government class was selected at the end of his school wide competition, surpassing the other classes in points earned. Before Districts, Mullin prepared the students for facing the judges by inviting congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to oversee a practice round here at school.
Mullin’s second period class worked rigorously to perfect their speeches. This was evident when they won Districts which was held at The Brickell Hyatt.
This is an accomplishment in itself, and another major achievement on the horizon is their advancement to Nationals held in Washington D.C.
“I think the students worked very hard to prepare and they were very focused in their task,” Mullin said.
The students have found competing beneficial. Mullin has worked with the team for weeks, asking complicated follow-up questions to prepare them for questions the judges may ask.
“Participating in We the People has truly been an unforgettable experience. It made the material we have been learning in AP Government class tangible, and helped us really appreciate it,” senior Gia Castillo, a member of the unit three team, said.
In the previous year, the MAST team placed last in the national division; this year, the team hopes to make it further.
The next step will be to formulate their new speeches and prepare for Nationals by having lawyers and judges ask the team questions, so that they are ready to answer any question they have not prepared for. Students are excited about competing together in Washington.
“Our competitions have brought us together: we’ve become a family. We can’t wait to represent Florida in Nationals!” Castillo said.