The Rendell Center Announces 2014 Citizenship Challenge Top Ten Finalists

December 4, 2014

Yesterday, The Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics at Arcadia University announced the top 10 Finalists in the second-annual Citizenship Challenge. These elementary school classes from the Philadelphia area will go on to compete in the Citizenship Challenge Finals on Thursday, Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the National Constitution Center (NCC).

The 2014 Citizenship Challenge finalists are:

  • Merion Elementary, Ms. Friedlander’s class (Lower Merion School District)
  • Good Shepherd Catholic School, Ms. Coughlin’s class (Philadelphia Archdiocese)
  • Chestnutwold Elementary, Ms. Doeller’s class (Havertown School District)
  • Cynwyd Elementary I, Ms. Litwa’s class (Lower Merion School District)
  • Cynwyd Elementary II, Ms. Wells’ class (Lower Merion School District)
  • Penn Wynne Elementary, Ms. Bair’s class (Lower Merion School District
  • Copper Beech Elementary, Dr. Portman’s class (Abington School District)
  • Loomis Elementary, Ms. Purcell’s class (Marble Newtown School District)
  • E.M. Stanton Elementary, Ms. Williams’ class (Philadelphia School District)
  • Mckinley Elementary, Mr. Donnelly’s class (Abington School District)

Serving as judges for the Citizenship Challenge are the Honorable Marjorie Rendell, federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Edward G. Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania; Dr. Barbara Nodine, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Arcadia University; and Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

The Challenge was open to 4th and 5th Grade classes enrolled in public, private, and parochial schools, and home study programs in the five-county Philadelphia area (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Montgomery Counties). This year’s question solicited essays and supportive videos or visual presentations on the topic of Online Voting and whether it should be a mechanism to increase voter participation in the U.S.

“The Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for fourth and fifth grade classes to submit essays on a specific issue facing our democracy today,” said Beth Specker, executive director of The Rendell Center and director of Education Initiatives at Arcadia’s School of Continuing Studies.

“It’s great to see how young minds work when tasked to consider issues facing our democracy, and to also see how these students insert themselves into these discussions,” said former Gov. Rendell. “In essence, they are taking on active roles of citizenship.”

The top classroom will be awarded a grand prize of $1,000 to be used toward a program that promotes civic learning and engagement in the student body. Three runner-up classes will receive a prize of $500 for a program that promotes civic learning and engagement in the student body. The top entries will receive classroom copies of the We The Civics Kids curriculum, as well as a civics library for their school (a $250 value). The top ten finalist classes will receive a free trip to the NCC to make a formal presentation.

For more information, contact Specker (484-568-3910,