As a high school senior, Caryn Glawe of Baker & Daniels finished fourth in the We the People national finals in Washington, D.C. Fourteen years later, she now volunteers as a judge for the program because she believes in the importance of civic education, the Indiana Bar Foundation reported in the article "From Civics Alum to Practicing Attorney" on its website.
Civic education "creates more engaged and informed citizens," Glawe explained. "Students articulate thoughts on political and societal issues, and there's a ripple effect as they discuss what they are learning with their parents and their peers."
We the People includes a semester-long civics curriculum that culminates in a congressional-style hearing, the article reported. High school students testify before a panel of judges composed of attorneys, members of the judiciary and civic leaders who quiz them on contemporary and historical issues the students have researched.
Glawe told the Indiana Bar Foundation that her participation in the program as a teenager gave her confidence in her ability to articulate ideas. "Students have to get comfortable being quizzed by the judges and defending their opinions," she said.
Caryn recognizes that the contributions of teachers help make We the People a success. "My teacher was one of the best," she said of the late Stan Harris. "He and his wife welcomed us into their home every night as we were practicing for nationals. (Teachers) dedicate so much time outside of the classroom to their students and to learn about constitutional issues."
As a volunteer judge, Caryn also knows how vital volunteers are to pulling competitions together at the local, district and state levels. "It's nerve-wracking to serve as a judge," she added. "Most of us don't deal with constitutional theory every day in our law practices. It's exciting to engage on these issues with such intelligent students."
At a time when many college graduates are leaving Indiana, resulting in brain drain, the Indiana Bar Association identified Glawe as one example of an intelligent young professional who has chosen to stay in Indiana and contribute to business and civic life in the state.