An initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Fighting For the Right to Garden

Meet Gianna, the middle schooler from Maryland who recently clinched the champion title at the National Civics Bee® hosted by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Gianna originally found out about the Bee on Facebook in 2021 and decided to give it a shot. She got second place that year and came back stronger this time, winning the whole thing. 

Using the National Civics Bee® stage, Gianna passionately spoke about the right to garden. Living in a community with strict homeowners’ association rules about gardening locations, she argued that everyone should have the right to cultivate a garden in any sunny spot. It wasn’t just about winning; it was about standing up for something she believed in and making a difference in her own neighborhood. 

Preparation was key for Gianna. She diligently used online resources to practice civics questions and honed her speaking skills by practicing with her family. Despite feeling nervous before going on stage, she discovered that presenting in front of everyone wasn’t as daunting as she had imagined. Plus, she already had a year of experience under her belt. 

The most memorable part for Gianna was the live competition and having to speak in front of everyone. She particularly enjoyed the friendly competition and meeting other students her age, making the experience not just educational but also fun. 

Gianna’s experience goes beyond cash prizes; it’s about building a strong civic foundation to empower young people to know their rights and make informed decisions. “I think it’s important for young people to be educated about civics, so when you become older you know about your rights, and so you can defend them,” she wisely stated.  

Gianna has a love for math and science, often delving into STEM-related activities outside of school. She also finds joy in playing the piano, swimming, playing soccer, and spending time with friends. 

When asked about her advice to future participants, Gianna encourages them to give the National Civics Bee® a try, emphasizing the value of the experience even if they don’t win. As she puts it, “Even if you don’t get any cash prizes or anything, it can still be a great learning experience and help with your future job.” 

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