Teachers and students call our experiential learning events life changing as well as fun! We provide students opportunities to participate in our democracy before they reach voting age.

The Citizenship Challenge

Our annual essay contest where students tackle tough civics issues facing our democracy

Since 2013, The Rendell Center’s Citizenship Challenge has provided a unique opportunity for 4th and 5th grade classes in the Commonwealth to express themselves by answering a civics essay question regarding a current issue facing our democracy.


Learn about

The Citizenship Challenge!

Learn about our recent Challenge in


Learn about our recent Challenge in


Learn about the 2019 Challenge in


Learn about the 2019 Challenge in


Forums and Debates

Continuing the tradition of experiential learning and engaging the student voice the Rendell Center conducts forums on important issues in their schools, communities and states such as our Gubernatorial Forum and Mayoral Candidate Conversation The program gives students a platform to share their views on how to make their schools and state great!

Conversation with the Candidates

A unique opportunity for elementary school students to engage prior to the Philadelphia Mayoral Election

In 2015, the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement provided an opportunity for all Philadelphia School District 4th and 5th graders to engage in a conversation with Mayoral Candidates Jim Kenny and Melissa Murray Bailey. Students’ voices were heard through the submission of 300-word essays on how to resolve what they think is one of the most important issues facing Philadelphia.

Five essays were selected for presentation to the candidates in a live session held on October 20, 2015. The session was broadcast to all schools in the District.

Conversation with the Candidates Logo

Youth Gubernatorial Forum

Elementary School Students Pose Their Questions to Pennsylvania’s Candidates for Governor

Youth Gubernatorial Forum Logo

Governors are elected by the people of a state to serve as the head of its government with many responsibilities

A basic goal of a governor is to make his or her state a great place for its citizens to live. Elementary school students are a unique population of PA residents with some very interesting views on how to make their state great as well as how to make their school experiences great.

On October 10, 2018, The Rendell Center combined these interests through a Youth Gubernatorial Forum, prefacing Pennsylvania’s upcoming election for governor. Elementary students were invited share their ideas live with candidates PA Governor Tom Wolf and challenger Scott Wagner.

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner addresses the forum audience
Group of 3 students address the candidate with a question
PA Governor Tom Wolf addresses the forum audience