The effort is all part of the state's "Civics Matter Arizona" program, which aims to inspire kids towards leadership roles
TEMPE, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY-TV) - On Wednesday, The Arizona Cardinals Football Club and State Farm, sent 241 Title I high school students from across the state on an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. as part of the Civics Matters Arizona program.
"For the majority of those kids, this will be their first airplane flight," Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell said. "All of these kids are coming from Title I schools from around the state. Northern Arizona, western southern, all throughout the state plus here in the greater Phoenix area."
Bidwell credits Governor Doug Ducey for the return of civics to Arizona classrooms in 2015.
"Physical education, civics, have been eliminated from a lot of classrooms from across the United States but we teach it here," Bidwell said. "We felt like the state has a statewide spelling bee but we do not have a statewide civics competition. So, this year we worked with school leaders to put the first ever statewide civics competition together and we wanted to put together a really cool prize. The prize is an all expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. for four days.
While in the nation's capital, the students will have the opportunity to meet with elected officials, visit historical landmarks and learn first-hand how government works, with the hope of inspiring and empowering them to make a difference in their respective communities.
The students are entering grades 9-12 and represent 46 Arizona schools, 20 school districts, 11 cities
and four counties. They were selected for the trip after submitting a 500-word essay about community and civic involvement, young people who have made a difference, or how to build “a more perfect union.” The criteria was created in collaboration with Governor Ducey.
The students took off for Washington D.C on Wednesday, and will be coming back home on Saturday.