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The Citizenship Challenge

Citizenship Challenge Logo 2016

The Lenfest Citizenship Challenge allows classes and students to express themselves regarding a current issue facing our democracy. Classroom teams write and submit essays that address their team’s point of view on the issue posed each year. The Challenge is drawn from PA Civics standards relating to principles and documents of government; rights and responsibilities of citizens; and information on how government works.

See 2016 Highlights

Challenge 2016: The Electoral College and the Presidential Election

Took place on Tuesday, December 13, 2016
The National Constitution Center • Philadelphia, PA

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For the fourth consecutive year The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement invited Philadelphia area (Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Bucks and Montgomery Counties) 4th and 5th grade classes to participate in their annual civics essay contest, The Lenfest Citizenship Challenge. To coincide with this year’s Presidential Election, our Challenge Question focuses on The Electoral College and the Presidential Election.

Chesnutwold Elementary

Grand Prize winners: Chestnutwold Elementary

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1st Runner-up: Glenwood Elementary

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2nd Runner-up: Kirkbride Elementary

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3rd Runner-up: McKinley Elementary

From the presentations of this year’s finalists, we are happy to announce the winners!

The 2016 Lenfest Citizenship Challenge Winners

  • Grand Prize: Chesnutwold Elementary School • Haverford School District • Ms. Natascha Doeller’s 5th grade class
  • First Runner Up: Glenwood Elementary School • Rose Tree Media School District • Ms. Rachael Pinsley’s 5th grade class
  • Second Runner Up: Kirkbride Elementary School • School District of Philadelphia • Ms. Lisa Yau’s 5th grade class
  • Third Runner Up: McKinley Elementary School • Abington School District • Ms. Colleen Murphy’s 5th grade class

The 2016 Challenge Question:
Q: Should the Constitution be amended to eliminate the Electoral College system for selecting the President and replace it with the national popular vote?

Background — The President of the United States of America is not elected by the “popular vote,” where the winner is the person who gets the most votes cast in the entire country. Instead, the Presidential Election winner is determined by the Electoral College as is defined in the Constitution. Each state has the same number of electoral votes as it has senators and representatives. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Under the 23rd Amendment, Washington, D.C. gets 3 electoral votes. Most states have a “winner-take-all” system in which all electors are awarded to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote. However, Maine and Nebraska each have a variation of “proportional representation.”

See 2015 Highlights

The 2015 Lenfest Citizenship Challenge

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Took place on Thursday, December 17, 2015
The National Constitution Center • Philadelphia, PA

For the third consecutive year The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement invited Philadelphia area (Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Bucks and Montgomery Counties) 4th and 5th grade classes to participate in their annual civics essay contest, The Lenfest Citizenship Challenge. This year was no different from previous years in that the finalists’ presentations were well thought out, engaging, and informative. Once again, we thank all of the schools that participated in the 2015 Challenge, and look forward to everyone’s participation in 2016.

From the presentations of this year’s finalists, we are happy to announce the winners!

The 2015 Lenfest Citizenship Challenge Winners

  • Grand Prize: Chesnutwold Elementary School • Haverford School District • Ms. Natascha Doeller’s 5th grade class
  • First Runner Up: Merion Elementary School • Lower Merion School District • Ms. Ann Friedlander 5th grade class
  • Second Runner Up: Radnor Elementary School • Radnor School District • Mr. Todd Serpico’s 5th grade class
  • Third Runner Up: Copper Beech Elementary School • Abington School District • Ms. Linda Hagarty’s 5th grade class

The Lenfest Citizenship Challenge allowed classes and students to express themselves regarding a current issue facing our democracy. Classroom teams wrote an essay that addressed their team’s point of view on the issue. The contest was drawn from PA Civics standards relating to principles and documents of government; rights and responsibilities of citizens; and information on how government works.