Platteville declared champion of 2019 Wisconsin Civics Games

MADISON – Platteville High School students Spencer Olds, Alex Sonsalla, Jacob Sherer and Liam Reinicke are the champions of the inaugural Wisconsin Civics Games, presented by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.

Platteville team captain Liam Reinicke hoists the Wisconsin Civics Games trophy after he and his teammates were declared champions of the inaugural competition. (photo by Julia Hunter)

Platteville faced off against Muskego High School in the championship round, winning 6-3.

More than 40 students participated in the competition Friday, March 29, at the Wisconsin State Capitol. They represented 11 teams that advanced from February’s regional competitions.

WNA Foundation President Scott Peterson presented the Platteville team with the championship trophy, noting each member would receive a $2,000 scholarship to a Wisconsin college or university. He also presented members of the top three teams with Civics Games medals.

Before competition began Friday, Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack provided opening remarks, addressing the importance of civics education in preparing young adults for participation in the democratic process.

Gov. Tony Evers receives a standing ovation after stopping by the Wisconsin Civics Games on Friday, March 29, at the state Capitol. (photo by Julia Hunter)

“Maintaining democracy requires that we be knowledgable about democratic practices,” Roggensack said. “We need to remember those practices that were required to begin our democracy and are required now to sustain it.”

Gov. Tony Evers also stopped by mid-morning to commend the students.

“I believe that civics education is frankly more important than ever, and the newspaper association’s work to make this opportunity available to the school districts in this state is a great step forward,” Evers said.

“The fact of the matter is it’s a much more complicated society to engage in civically. And having this competition is a good reminder that our young people are ready to be good citizens in the state of Wisconsin and in our country.”

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Northland Pines High School team captain Annalise Callaghan prepares to ring her bell during the Wisconsin Civics Games on Friday, March 29, at the state Capitol. (photo by Julia Hunter)

State Reps. John Macco (R-De Pere), Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), who were among the judges at their respective regional competitions, returned to serve as judges in Friday’s state finals.

In 2018, after reading about a lack of public service and civic engagement in Wisconsin, WNA Foundation board member Eve Galanter spearheaded the effort to launch the Wisconsin Civics Games.

“As a proud member of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation Board of Directors, I’m so very excited that we’re holding this inaugural year of the Wisconsin Civics Games in our state Capitol,” Galanter said in her remarks before reading a letter from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor congratulating the students on their “admirable showing.”

The WNA Foundation Board of Directors launched the Games in hopes of addressing a decline in civic education and engagement and inspiring a new generation of leaders to become involved in the political process.

Wisconsin Civics Games sponsors include the Evjue Foundation, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Local Government Institute of Wisconsin, Madison Gas & Electric Foundation, Polco.us, Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies, WisconsinEye and Wisconsin Senate Scholars Program.

Regional competition sponsors were UW-Eau Claire (Barron County), UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Platteville.

Student study materials were provided by the iCivics, PBS News Hour, WisconsinEye, Wisconsin Policy Forum and Wisconsin Public Television.

Teams competing in Friday’s state finals include:

Black River Falls High School
Paul Rykken, Advisor
Sam Lund, Team captain
Zoe Dal Cerro
Graham Rockouski
Madeline Diehn
Caleb Laufenberg, Alternate

Osceola High School
Pam Kaiser, Advisor
Morgan Johnson, Team captain
Isabella Osterbauer
Emily Jaroscak
Joelle Rapp

Ashwaubenon High School
Eric Mommaerts, Advisor
Bennett Schuster, Team captain
Emily DeLaurelle
Randell Johnson
Tahlia Micoley

Northland Pines High School
Jacob Schueller, Advisor
Annalise Callaghan, Team captain
Thomas Priefer
Kristin Shaars
Tanner Kiesow
Adam Sima, Alternate

Cassville High School
Rebecca Mai, Advisor
Susan Bernhardt, Teacher
Melody Hampton, Team captain
Ezra Okey
Kendra Rouse
Moria Kasper-Theisen

Platteville High School
Garrett Jones, Advisor
Liam Reinicke, Team captain
Spencer Olds
Alex Sonsalla
Jacob Sherer

Madison Memorial High School
David Olson, Advisor
Cory Forbes, Team captain
Alex Blue

Waunakee High School
Corina Rogers, Advisor
Alyssa Beery, Team captain
Thomas Pyle
Sam Kaufmann
Sam Korth

Big Foot High School
Patrick Hollihan, Advisor
Tiffany Cruz, Team captain
Max Marousek

Muskego High School
Jason Bretzmann, Advisor
Kevin LaGrow, Team captain
Ryan Leifer
Isaac Ozolins
Colbey Kuchler

Medford Area Senior High
Corey Nazer, Advisor
Seth Mayrer, Team captain
Brendan Borman
Emma Ellis
Carlos Herrada
Josh Fredrikson