Four Corners middle school students have chance to enter National Civics Bee

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FARMINGTON, N.M. — Over the next few months, middle school students in New Mexico will take part in live quizzes with hopes of moving on to a bigger competition.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce did a study on how kids in school, middle school and high school, what kind of civics education they were getting, they realized that not everyone knew a lot of civics or their government, so they decided to go ahead and do a civics bee,” said Jamie Church, president and CEO of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

For the first time, the Farmington Chamber of Commerce will be a part of that civics bee, along with six other chambers from New Mexico.

“We have been looking for a way, a project or a program where we can get youth involved in what we do and so the civics bee seemed like a perfect opportunity,” Church said.

But before a statewide live quiz, middle schoolers in the Farmington area must write a 500-word essay.

“On the topic being something that they would like to see changed in their community, or something that is important to them in their community, or maybe something that they feel is a problem in the community and they would like to see it addressed,” Church said.

Then 20 finalists will take the stage.

“The top three of those, from the live event, will then be asked to, or invited to, participate in the state competition,” Church said.

Church hopes that encouraging students to get interested in government will help inspire future leaders.

“Someday they are going to be the homeowners, and the citizens, and the business owners and volunteers of the future, so if we can get them involved now with their government, I think it is just going to benefit all of us in the future.”

The competition is open to all middle school students, whether they go to public or private schools or are homeschooled. The deadline for the essay submission is at noon on Feb. 24 and there are monetary prizes for winners.