News Archive – 2015

CLP’s 14th Annual Golf Tournament a Success!

Classroom Law Project Celebrates Constitution Day!

Profile of a CLP Student: Manaz Rezayee – August 5, 2015

House Bill 2955: Why Professional Development Matters – July 20, 2015

2015 Summer Institute: The Political Classroom, from YIKES to YES! – June 23-26, 2015

Ridgley Scholarship Awarded to Parkrose Valedictorian – June 1, 2015

Grant Constitution Team Wins We The People National Title – April 28, 2015

Willsonville’s Wood Middle School Places Third at We The People National Invitational  – April 21, 2015

Judge Nan Waller Honored as Legal Citizen of the Year – April 23, 2015

2015 State Mock Trial Results are in!

 14th Annual Golf Tournament a Big Success

September 28, 2015. The sun was shining at the Classroom Law Project Golf Tournament held September 28, 2015 at Portland Golf Club. Over one hundred thirty individuals joined us for golf, games, and a great time to help CLP raise critical funds for civic education in Oregon.

Special thanks to Nike, Inc. for stepping up as the Ace Sponsor this year, and to Buckley Law, Eagle Sponsor. Click here for a full list of sponsors who made the day so successful. Thanks also to our talented Golf Committee, and to our amazing army of CLP volunteers, including the group from The Standard who took charge of registration. We would like to recognize our in-kind sponsors, including Hiefield Foster & Glascock and Rogue Ales & Spirits for the complimentary beer; Umpqua Bank for the ice cream truck and auction item; Caffe Umbria and Voodoo Donuts for breakfast; and Thom Faglie at MacKenzie Golf Bag Company for the gorgeous leather golf bag. Lastly, we’d like to thank CLP Board member Brian Talcott for taking a moment to talk about why Classroom Law Project matters to teachers and students across the state. The beautiful Portland Golf Club course and clubhouse made the day extra special!

Thanks again to all those who joined us yesterday. Your support helps forward the future of our democracy by instilling Oregon students with the values and skills to be active citizens. We couldn’t do this great work without you.

A full catalog of CLP Golf Touranment photos will be posted soon.


Our first place winners.

Classroom Law Project Celebrates Constitution Day!

american-flag-beautiful-images-hd-new-wallpapers-of-us-flagSeptember 17, 2015. September 17. This is the date in 1787 when a small band of 39 patriots signed the Constitution in Philadelphia. In 2005, Congress passed a law declaring September 17 to be national Constitution Day, requiring all federally funded schools to teach the Constitution on this designated day. On Thursday September 17, 2015, teachers and students in schools across Oregon will take time to discuss one of our nation’s most treasured documents.

In a 2014 declaration, President Barack Obama stated, “Our Constitution reflects the values we cherish as a people and the ideals we strive for as a society.  It secures the privileges we enjoy as citizens, but also demands participation, responsibility, and service to our country and to one another.  As we celebrate our Nation’s strong and durable framework, we are reminded that our work is never truly done.  Let us renew our commitment to these sacred principles and resolve to advance their spirit in our time.”

Today, Classroom Law Project invites teachers and students, as well as citizens across Oregon to take time to learn more about our Constitution. As Executive Director, Marilyn Cover explains, “Taking the time to better understand and appreciate our rights and responsibilities as citizens, as well as our system of government, is especially important on this nationally recognized day – for students as well as for all of our community.”

We hope that you will join us in learning a little bit more about our nation’s founding document. Here are a few fun facts to get you started:

      • The U.S. Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures.
      • At the time of the signing, Benjamin Franklin was in such poor health he needed help to sign the Constitution. He was the oldest delegate to sign the Constitution, at 81 years old.
      • Although they are considered Founding Fathers, neither Thomas Jefferson nor John Adams signed the Constitution.
      • The most obvious spelling mistake on the Constitution is the misspelling of “Pensylvania.”
      • It is misspelled on the Liberty Bell as well! There are two languages in the Constitution: English and Latin.
      • The average age of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention was about 40.
      • Before the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 and gave the vote to women across the nation, women in Arizona, Alaska, Oregon and California had the right to vote.
      • The separation of church and state is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.
      • Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution.

For more information and teaching material regarding Constitution Day, check out Susie & Tyler’s two most recent Current Events! There is also information at the Constitution Center’s website, as well as at the American State Bar’s website. More Constitution Facts can be found here. Want even more info about teaching the Constitution? Contact Tyler Kaltenbach at

Profile of a CLP Student: Manaz Rezayee

August 5, 2015

A family changed by war.
Parents bombed in their Afghanistan home.
Flight to Pakistan. And from there to America.
Uprooted from all they knew and loved.

For many, these obstacles would be insurmountable. For Manaz Rezayee, the 2015 CLP Bob & Marilyn Ridgley Classroom Law Project Scholarship recipient, they were motivation to become an outstanding scholar and citizen. After moving to Portland and completing English Language Learner classes in 5th grade, Manaz excelled in high school AP classes and joined the Parkrose High School mock trial and We the People teams.

Reflecting recently on the tools CLP programs provide, Manaz said that she appreciates “the incredibly unforgettable experience” that increased her communication and analytical skills while learning about American government. “Learning about democracy (and) contrasting Pakistan and Afghanistan,” she said, has encouraged her to continue her education in hopes of one day helping to “alter the government of Afghanistan.”

Ms. Rezayee is now a freshman at Portland State University, majoring in biology and aspiring to be an M.D. specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. CLP is proud to support Manaz through a scholarship created by Bob & Marilyn Ridgely, co-founders of Classroom Law Project. At CLP, we help teachers educate and inspire students like Manaz, whose commitment to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship will create positive change in their communities and around the world.

Way to go, Manaz! You are an inspiration.DSC_5710

House Bill 2955: Why Professional Development Matters – The Best 6 Minutes of Your Day!

July 20, 2015  On Monday, July 20th Governor Kate Brown signed HB 2955, supporting two teachers from every legislative district to attend the popular Oregon Civics Conference at the State Capitol on December 4, 2015 as well as professional development follow up. With fewer resources devoted to social studies, this bill helps close the gap in civic education – particularly important in Oregon, where the system of ballot measures, referrals and initiatives frequently turns citizens into lawmakers. This purpose of HB 2955 is to provide high-quality civic education to support our future informed voters.

On June 15th, two recent graduates of Ms. Karen Rouse’s West Sylvan eighth grade class testified in front of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Education. Sophia Takla and Madeline Gochee – along with West Salem High School teacher and 2014 Classroom Law Project Educator of the Year, Drew Moneke –  made a case for the benefit of professional development for teachers. The following six minutes of student testimony speak for themselves!

Want to pass this along? Here’s a link to House Bill 2955 Student Testimony from Classroom Law Project on Vimeo.

2015 Summer Institute: The Political Classroom, from YIKES to YES!

June 23-26, 2015  At this year’s Summer Institute for teachers we learned about how to handle politics in the classroom. Classroom Law Project’s Annual Summer Institute is a gathering of educators geared to teachers grades 5 through 12. The 2015 Institute offered a time of learning, hands-on practice, camaraderie and networking in beautiful Central Oregon.paula.mcavoy

Dr. Paula McAvoy researcher and co-author of the Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, discussed her findings and shared skills teachers can use to facilitate classroom discussions about controversial issues. This year’s Institute was geared towards helping teachers create a classroom climate where students are more engaged, more interested in politics, and more willing to listen to other points of view. With the next election season fast approaching, creating places for young people to become well-informed is increasingly important.

Learn more about Classroom Law Project’s Annual Summer Institute for teachers. 

Ridgley Scholarship Awarded to Parkrose Valedictorian

June 1, 2015     Parkrose High School senior Ms. Manaz Rezayee received the Bob and Marilyn Ridgley Classroom Law Project scholarship, which totals $8,000 toward college tuition. Ms. Rezayee, a Parkrose valedictorian with a 4.2 GPA, is a model student and citizen. She was a member of Parkrose mock trial team during her sophomore year and part of the We the People “Constitution Team” during her senior year. Ms. Rezayee plans to become an OB-GYN doctor and work to improve the health of women and children in Afghanistan.


Grant Constitution Team Wins We The People National Title

April 28, 2015    For the fourth year in a row, an Oregon high school team has taken home the national We The People title. Yesterday evening, in a crowded auditorium in Alexandria, Virginia, Portland’s Grant High School beat fifty-six teams from around the country to place first in the nation. This makes Oregon the state with the most national titles in the competition’s twenty-eight year history. Grant won previously in 2013, and has finished second once and third three times. Lincoln High School scored Oregon’s other recent victories.

The final round of competition and victory announcement came on the birthday of the school’s namesake, General Ulysses S. Grant.

CLP Executive Director Marilyn Cover said of the Grant students, “Over the course of the year I have had the great opportunity to see these students improve so much in their speaking skills, teamwork and ability and to use historical and current events to respond to complex philosophical questions during the competition. It has been truly amazing to witness!”

Congratulations Grant Generals! We are so proud!! Congratulations also to Grant teacher Jeremy Reinholt and volunteer coaches, Mike Curtis, Tim Volpert, Shelley Larkins, Jessica Snyder, Al Karpinski, Judge Mike Greenlick, Andee Short, Judge Henry Breithaupt, Harry Latto, Jim Westwood and John Stephens. Learn more about the We The People Program here.

WTP15 Winning Grant Team on steps

Willsonville’s Wood Middle School Places Third at We The People National Invitational

April 21, 2015    The Third Annual We the People National Invitational was held April 17 – 21, 2015 on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Congratulations to the students on Willsonville’s Wood Middle School’s We The People team for placing third at the 2015 National Invitational! We look forward to seeing them compete when they matriculate to Wilsonville High School.

Learn more about the We The People Program here.


Judge Nan Waller Honored as Legal Citizen of the Year

April 23, 2015  More than 400 guests packed the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland to celebrate the life and work of the Honorable Nan Waller, presiding judge of the Multnomah County Circuit Court and the 2015 Jonathan U. Newman Legal Citizen of the Year. Also recognized was the CLP 2014-15 Civic Educator of the Year, Ms. Amanda Alonso of Madison High School.

Master’s of Ceremony, Judge Eric Bergstrom and Judge Michael McShane led the evening off, and guests heard from Mr. Michael Larios-Grave, a 2014 graduate of Madison High School, member of Madison’s flagship We The People “Constitution” Team and first recipient of the Bob & Marilyn Ridgley Classroom Law Project Scholarship. Mr. Larios-Grave said of his experience with CLP programs, “I am grateful [to have been a] part of Madison’s Constitution Team. My knowledge of the Constitution grew immensely and helped me reflect on the fundamental theories and morals upon which our beautiful country is founded. By understanding the beliefs that form this country, I am better qualified to carry out my civic duty and to help my community.”

Representative Williamson and Mary Jaeger of the Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs spoke on behalf of Judge Waller who was celebrated for her long-standing commitment to children and families in Oregon and for her leadership in the construction of the new Multnomah County Courthouse.

The paddle raise brought in a record-breaking $79,000 for civic education in Oregon, beginning with a $5,000 matching challenge by Mr. Peter Richter of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn. In total, CLP Raised over $160,000 for civic education programs in Oregon.

Much of the success of the evening is owed to CLP Board Members Shelley Larkins and Laura Caldera-Taylor, as well as the Legal Citizen Dinner Planning Committee who worked tirelessly to ensure that the event was well-attended and the crowd was enthusiastic. Thanks to the 2015 VIP table sponsors, Nike, Inc., Garvey Schubert Barer and Recommind. Thanks also to our wine sponsor, A to Z Wineworks as well as Nance and Jim Case for the Oregon Wine & Chocolate Basket and Keith Garza and Carrie Poust for the beautiful Pendleton Blanket.

LC15-477 The Honorable Nan Waller and CLP Executive Director Marilyn Cover.

2015 State Mock Trial Results are in!

1st Place: Village Home Education Resource Center
2nd Place: West Linn
3rd Place: Riverdale
4th Place: Jesuit
CONGRATULATIONS to ALL the teams who competed this weekend! Some of you came a long distance to be part of this event. All of you worked very hard to get to this point. Click here to see photos from the reception and final round: Password: ClassLaw