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

Pennsylvania’s Voice For A Greener Future

For Nathaniel G., participating in the National Civics Bee® was a no-brainer. His social studies teacher introduced him to the competition and encouraged his class to apply by writing an entry essay in lieu of their usual weekly current event assignments.

Nathaniel chose to dive head-first into the National Civics Bee® because he saw it as a fantastic opportunity to write about something he truly cares about in his community: the impact of water-hungry lawns on the environment. His essay echoed the importance of conservation and the innovative idea to swap out lawns for native plants. Not only did it earn him a spot in his local competition, but it qualified him for the second-ever National Civics Bee® Pennsylvania State Finals, hosted by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

To prepare for the competition, Nathaniel immersed himself in the world of civics and government, studying each day while also practicing his speech in front of his family. The day of the live event brought a mix of nerves and excitement, but Nathaniel found the competition to be fun and less intense than he initially thought. And, of course, the best part for him was when he was crowned the first-place winner and handed a generous $1,000 check.

In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of U.S. Supreme Court cases and constitutional amendments, Nathaniel’s participation in the National Civics Bee® also enhanced his public speaking skills and instilled in him the importance of active citizenship.

“It’s taught me that you need to have an active role in your community. If you want to be a good citizen, you need to get out there, make friends, volunteer, and spread your ideas,” Nathaniel shared.

Beyond his studies, Nathaniel has a passion for singing, playing soccer, and reading. Now in his first year of high school, he reflects fondly on his National Civics Bee® experience and hopes more young people will jump on board.

“It was a really great opportunity for me, and I’m glad that I had the chance to do it before I left middle school. I know I’ve already told some other kids to do it in younger years, but I really just think it’s a great way to learn and have some fun in the process.”

Nathaniel’s experience stands out as an example of how young citizens can step up, create positive change, and have a blast doing it. He was even inspired to approach his own homeowner’s association to discuss his idea of transforming lawns in his neighborhood—a significant stride toward making the kind of change that the world could use.

Check out highlights from the 2023 National Civics Bee® competitions here.

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