Chaparral High School celebrated for award-winning civics program

TEMECULA – Chaparral High School (CHS) is one of 13 high schools in the State of California to receive a California Civic Learning Award for its civics program, which encompasses knowledge and application of the U.S. Constitution, community involvement and safety awareness, and a senior-required government learning project.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Cope, representing California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, presented the award, which recognizes Chaparral’s program for student engagement in civic learning and acknowledges it as a model that can be replicated in other schools.

Of the 13 high schools across the state recognized, CHS is one of only seven California high schools to earn an award of merit. 

The presentation was made on May 2 in a special awards ceremony attended by students, staff, parents, TVUSD Superintendent Timothy Ritter, and City of Temecula Councilman Chuck Washington. Washington, on behalf of the Temecula City Council, presented the school with a proclamation marking May 2 as CHS Civic Learning Program Day.             

The Chaparral High School Civics Program offers students an opportunity to participate and make a difference in the community in three ways: 

* Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), is an on-campus club which grew from 30 to 100 members, developed school-wide and community safety-awareness programs, and won National SADD Chapter of the Year in 2012. Its advisor, Jackie Schmidt, won National SADD Chapter Advisor of the Year in 2013. DCH Auto Group in Temecula is the school’s SADD chapter sponsor.

* Participating in Government Project for CHS seniors, in which students choose from a menu of civic activities – including attending city council and school board meetings, interviewing a government employee, contacting an elected official, writing a Letter to the Editor of a local newspaper – and submit an application to a government-related Community Service Learning Project. This project is a requirement in all 12th grade government courses at CHS.

* Participation in We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, in which a team of CHS Advanced Placement Government and Politics students annually compete. In December 2013, the CHS Team outscored three San Diego area teams to win the Mock Congressional Hearing Competition at San Diego’s Grossmont College. Under the guidance of social science teacher Jeff Kingsberg, it was the school’s fifth regional championship since 2006. The team represented the region at the California State Finals in February 2014.

“This award reminds us that all of us must work together to ensure that democracy continues to thrive. Civics education and student engagement in our community are critical for our future as a state and as a nation, and CHS is tremendously honored to be recognized as an exemplary California school in civic education,” said Kingsberg, social science teacher and advisor who submitted the school’s nomination.

The Civic Learning Award Program is co-sponsored by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Winners were selected by a panel of experts based on the depth and breadth of their civic learning courses/clubs/programs. CHS is located at the corner of Winchester and Nicolas Roads, 27215 Nicolas Road in Temecula.

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