Arizona competition of National Civics Bee celebrates civics education, sends contestant to national finals in November

Sixteen Arizona middle-schoolers on Friday took center stage at the Arizona competition of the National Civics Bee, showing off not only their knowledge of American civics, but also their creative ideas for tackling some of their communities’ most pressing challenges.

Held at the Flinn Foundation in central Phoenix, the event was a collaboration of the Arizona Chamber Foundation and the U.S. Chamber Foundation.

Arizona a leader in civics education 

Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, spoke of Arizona’s distinction as the first state in the country to mandate a civics exam for high school graduation and shared his belief in the critical role of civic education. 

Participants were selected by their local chambers of commerce in Gilbert, Queen Creek, Tucson, and Yuma County.

“As chamber leaders, together with our member businesses, we are committed to helping Arizona remain a terrific place not just to do business but to live and raise a family.” Seiden said. “This competition gives all businesses a way to show their support for civic education and help inspire a new generation of civic leaders in Arizona.” 

“America’s democracy depends on informed, active citizen participation. The National Civics Bee is a way to ensure a high-quality, non-partisan learning and civic engagement experience for students,” Arizona Chamber Foundation President and CEO Eileen Klein said. “And it’s a way to help elevate the importance of civic education statewide.”

The event 

The event began with two rounds of multiple-choice questions that tested the depth of the students’ knowledge on topics ranging from each branch of government’s unique role, important Supreme Court decisions, the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, and more.

In the final round, five finalists presented to an all-star panel of judges a short proposal to solve an issue facing their community.

A gubernatorial proclamation

Emcee Kim Covington, the vice president for community initiatives at the Arizona Community Foundation, read a proclamation from Gov. Katie Hobbs, which said, in part, that “civics education is essential to prepare students with the knowledge and skills to participate as informed members of their communities.”

The governor declared May 3, 2024 as Civics Bee in Arizona Day.

The judges

  • State Supreme Court Justice Kathryn King
  • State Rep. Jennifer Pawlik (LD-13)
  • Liam Julian, Director of Public Policy for the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy
  • Nicole Bidwill, Vice President, Arizona Cardinals
  • Dawn Wallace, Vice President for Civic Leadership, Flinn Foundation

The winner

Aiden Barraza, from Saint Francis Xavier, will represent Arizona at the National Civics Bee competition in Washington, D.C. this fall. 

For winning the Arizona competition, Aiden not only earned a spot in the national competition but also walked away with a $1,000 prize.

Add comment

Subscribe to the Dry Heat

Get updates on the most important news delivered right to your email. Fully personalized options. No SPAM. Unsubscribe anytime.

Sign Me Up!

Let’s Get Social

Chamber Business News wants to connect with you. Follow us, tweet, share, post, comment... however you get social is the perfect way to connect.