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Wauwatosa High School Students Receive National and Regional Recognition at Annual We the People Competition

The Wauwatosa School District is thrilled to share that students on the American Public Policy Special Emphasis (APPSE) team at Wauwatosa West achieved a fourth place finish at the national We the People: The Citizen and Constitution National Finals competition - the highest placement for a Wauwatosa team in the history of the district - and the Wauwatosa East team received a Divisional Award for its performance.


Last weekend, students in APPSE classes at Wauwatosa East and West High Schools competed virtually in the national We the People competition. On Sunday, April 25, the Wauwatosa West team was announced as one of the top 12 teams who would compete for the National Championship the following day. At an awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 27, Wauwatosa West was named the fourth place finisher in the nation, out of 48 total schools. 


“In a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual learning and so much more, I could not be more proud of these kids,” stated Dr. Phil Ertl, Wauwatosa School District Superintendent. “Their hard work, motivation and consistent support of one another is exceptional. We should all celebrate this outstanding accomplishment.”   


The team is made up of 11th grade Juniors only, whereas the majority of other teams included Seniors. Members of the team include: Layla Allen, Sarah Anderson, Ella Archambo, Leah  Bjorgo, Jenna Boekenhauer, Miles Coppage, Zoe DelVecchio, Catherine M DiCastri, Nora L Engbring, Lea A Guttormson, Mackenzie R Jacobi, Andrea Justin, Cooper Krause, Tricia J Kroll, Rachel Leveille, Emily Linehan, Donovan McGann, Ronan M Piontek, Ryan L Reynolds, Nora A Rommelfanger, Marissa M Rueda, Justin J Schmidt, Elizabeth Schuldt, Ella P Schwantes,  Alivia L Smith, Benjamin Soboleski, Adele L Steliga, Serena E Stern, Jude B Whale and Savannah B Williams. Teaching assistants are Olivia Casper, William Meyer, Joseph Byrne, Maggie Schilling, Stephan Milicic and Olivia Bree. The team is coached by Chad Mateske. 


The Wauwatosa East team earned its Divisional Award (Division C) after securing a wildcard spot in the national championship. Members of the team include: Aidan Anich, Madeline Bartz, Greta Dietzler, Gabriela Duarte, Nadia Eull, Nathan Foley, Julia French, Meera Gajria, Owen Gendrich, Audrey Georg, Sophia Heffner, Alex Joseph, Mason King, John Koch, Micah Korb, Abby Loeffel, Isabel Margerie, Claire Nistler, Lidia Perez, Anya Ranft, Anneke Shiller, Lamar Smith, Kidron Staples, Norah Tait, Stella Vermeulen, Ryan Westphal and Lauren Wunderlich. Teaching assistants are Audrey Andera, Grace Hudson-Mairet, Ella Laatsch, Isa Lentz, Jack Stuart and Nora Tanel. The team is coached by Taylor McDaniel. 


A full list of award-winning teams can be found here.


This is the third time in the 14 year history of the program that a Wauwatosa team earned a spot in the National Championship finals. In previous years, students from Wauwatosa West had finished 10th in the nation, but this year’s fourth place finish marks the highest placement to date. Additionally, this fourth place finish is the best finish from a Wisconsin team in more than a decade.


American Public Policy Special Emphasis (APPSE) is a government/civic education course offered at both Wauwatosa East and West. The class takes an in-depth look at government structure, rights, court cases and current events as students prepare for the Center for Civic Education's annual We the People competition. Students in the class break off into six distinct learning groups that research, write and learn to argue and defend stances on historical, political and social issues.  


The We the People: The Citizen and Constitution National Finals is a national academic competition that gives students an opportunity to display the civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to effectively participate in our constitutional democratic republic through simulated congressional hearings. Approximately one thousand students from forty-eight classes participated in 648 half-hour Zoom hearings during the National Finals on April 23 - 26, 2021.