Video: Politicians judge Madison students for ‘Project Citizen’

(The judges with, second from left, Karen Chilcutt, one of the volunteer organizers)
3:02 PM FRIDAY: We’ve just wrapped up about two hours of an amazing We the People: Project Citizen event at Madison Middle School, with humanities teacher Starr McKittrick‘s students presenting their research on two hot topics – education funding and police/public relations – to a high-powered panel: Former Mayor Greg Nickels, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and Seattle School Board President Steve Sundquist (all three West Seattleites), plus U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott‘s district director Darcy Nothnagle. The students made spoken presentations (written material also was turned in earlier) and were grilled by the four; then they were rated, with the winning group going to compete in a statewide event in Olympia this spring. For any parents awaiting word of the winners – the afternoon classes, who handled education funding, came out on top. We recorded most of the event on video and will add long excerpts later, so you too can cheer the students, described by Madison principal Henterson Carlisle as the event began, as “the leaders of tomorrow.”

ADDED LATE FRIDAY/EARLY SATURDAY: The video clips show each group of students, four each from the morning and afternoon classes, presenting specific parts of their argument, moving from the first group outlining it, to the fourth group with an “action plan.” The presentations were made in the Madison library, with each student group taking seats at the front of the room, facing the judges (and, behind the judges, the audience including all other participants as well as some parents plus the volunteers and school staffers). We’ve preceded each group with a photo of the hallway display about their topic (which, like the presentations, addressed it in four sections):

MORNING STUDENTS: Their project was described as “Help eliminate police brutality through more crisis intervention and cultural-awareness training.”

For this topic, we recorded the students’ presentation, but not the back-and-forth with judges, who asked some tough questions each time, trying to suss out how well the students knew their topics, premises and conclusions. (Added: To a point that has arisen in story comments, the students’ research, they said, did include meeting with police.) Here’s the first group, from left, Dakota Kantner, Buick McNamara, Lena Le, August Carow, Kyle McGlasson, Dominic Yem:

Second group, from left, Abby Gluckman, Diane Ly, Nafsya Magarssa, Erin Pennington, James Caldwell, Carlos Hernandez-Castro:

Group three, from left, Jamal Abdile, Zakariah Nyberg, Queen Norm, Taylor Latham, Sonja Fridriksson, Kristine La:

And the final group on this topic (with the “action plan”) – Gabriella Vanek, Brandon Tyler, Calvin Nguyen, August Mears, Lincoln Vuong, Nickolas Dyer:

AFTERNOON STUDENTS: The official description of their project: “Stop state government from rerouting federal monies for education.”

For three of these four groups, we were able to record some of the interaction with the judges, including this first group, outlining the problem: Ryan Wilson, Miski Hassan, Peter Forsberg, Alyssa Magcalas, Lina Le, Mecca Amen:

Second group: Carter Mensing, Jacob Woodbury, Danielle Nielsen, Ashley Abriam-Snell, Apisara Krassner, Katrina Carper:

In the third education-funding group, whose clip includes questioning from the judges – from left, Daseray Dang, Simon Tate, Colleen Huynh, Sahra Ibrahim, Kaelyn Johnston, Dylan Ledbetter, Lindsey Hage (who also is a starter on the Madison team playing in the middle-school girls’ championship game Saturday afternoon):

Here’s the final group presenting its solution to the education problem: Left to right, Natalie Williams, Nicholas Barth, Hannah Johnson, Mychael Huynh, Ellen Salenjus, Hannah Eklund. (this clip also includes the interaction with judges):

The judges offered their thoughts while the votes were tallied, and then Sundquist handed certificates to each and every participant, including the adult volunteers:

We’ll let you know when we have more information about the competition in Olympia, at which the Madison students will be the first-ever Seattle Public Schools team competing. The showcase on Friday was the culmination of months of work; one student, just before the event, told us he had edited his report eleven times!

13 Replies to "Video: Politicians judge Madison students for 'Project Citizen'"

  • Cami February 11, 2011 (3:25 pm)

    Great to hear about this. My son participated but I wasn’t able to attend. Looking forward to the video.

  • Chrissy February 11, 2011 (3:35 pm)

    This is a great program! I’m glad to hear some local teachers are using it! Great job, Madison students.

  • F16CrewChief February 11, 2011 (3:53 pm)

    So proud of this program. I am also very proud of my little girl and all the hard work her and her classmates put in to be able to represent Madison at the next level. Kudos to the other class and their hard work as well.

  • MadisonStudent February 11, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    I Made The Video With Mr. carsilie

  • Lovely February 11, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    I am very proud of both groups. They did amazing jobs! Way to go, kids!

  • Cheryl February 11, 2011 (5:41 pm)

    Both groups were remarkable. It too bad that only one can go on, but that is the nature of competition. It will be an awesome experience for the winning group to travel to Olympia, meet other young people from around the state and to see just how a group of people who work together can accomplish so much which is one goal of Project Citizen. To paraphrase Margaret Mead: “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” To watch these young people get a glimpse of that was a lovely experience.

  • Susan A February 11, 2011 (6:10 pm)

    This is a great way for young kids to learn about public policy and government. My daughter participated today and I am very proud of her accomplishment in this project – GO MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOL!

  • Beth Grieser February 12, 2011 (9:21 am)

    Thank you WSB for covering this project. As usual, you are on top of what is going on in West Seattle. These young people deserve a lot of credit for their hard work. And a big thank you to our elected officials for taking the time to participate. This is the kind of program that will make our democracy strong.

  • officerfriendly February 12, 2011 (10:03 am)

    I thought they did a great job and it is wonderful that the schools are spearheading projects like this. However, I was disappointed to see the topic of ‘Stop Police Brutality.’

    The Seattle Police spend zero time or money on positive Public Relations of their officers and instead allow the media and flip videos to shape public opinion of everything they do. Unfortunately, I think its easy to harp on the idea of Seattle Police having issues of brutality right now but what is not managed is that each issue and officer is separate and one bad apple does not make the whole of the the department. A good argument has both sides. Namely, there are 3,000 officers and a small percentage of them are involved in any complaints or issues and help hundreds of thousands of people in little ways every day. That means over 90 percent of the Seattle Police force is not engaged in ANY type of brutality ever. Officer Pomper who was ill-quoted in the presentation has had ZERO complaints in 19 years of service.

    Police work is not pretty that is why we have it. Seattle wants ‘peace officers’ and social workers who will quietly talk people into squad cars and gives them the choice to go if they wish. With all due respect to the smart, cherubic faces who did a fantastic job with their report, I think after last weeks funeral of Jayme Biendle we know what the results of officers not having weapons is. (Account in officer’s death: ‘I’ll just get right to the point … I strangled her’

    And, to be frank, with the budget cuts and increasing amounts of dangerous felons let out on the street because of it the statistics could argue this this terrible incident or worse could have happened to anyone of us. That is why we have police. I would never discount the voices of the young because I believe they will create change where it needs to be changed. And that is a wonderful thing. I just hope in the future our youth can also learn to see positive sides to having police in their communities.

    • WSB February 12, 2011 (10:16 am)

      OF, I should mention, not to detract from your point, but they did mention along the way (and that group’s debrief was not on video, so it wouldn’t be obvious, and I apologize) that their research included speaking with Seattle Police. I do have a few contextual notes I will add to the story. They were asked by the judges – as was the other group – how they chose their topic, and the reply, you might not be surprised to hear, was that there was so much media coverage of incidents involving police when they were choosing topics back in the fall. – TR

  • Dr. D February 12, 2011 (10:25 am)

    Kudos to Starr McKittrick you were one of my daughter’s favorite and most influential teachers!

  • officerfriendly February 12, 2011 (10:51 am)

    Good for them. I wish them well as they did a great job in their presentation skills. All in all I know this report isn’t really about the topic when it comes to educational value. They are kids and they don’t deserve intense scrutiny. I would have just liked these great kids to see positives about SPD. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Cheryl February 12, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    When I was a child, back in the 1940s, and later in the 1950s, when I occasionally wrote a letter to the editor, or an article or so for our local newspaper, it was a thrill to be published.

    It must be doubly thrilling for WS Eighth Graders to be digitally recorded and have it be uploaded to the Internet in their own community.

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