The state of Tennessee has a new Constitution Bee champion. Cooper Moran is this year’s winner of the Spring 2018 Tennessee Star Constitution Bee, sponsored by the Polk Foundation. As the individual winner, the Lincoln City High School junior received a $3,000 Andrew Woodfin Miller Foundation Scholarship, provided by generous donations to the Polk Foundation. The scholarship was presented to Moran by the master of ceremonies Michael Patrick Leahy. In addition to being CEO of The Tennessee Star, Leahy is also its Editor-in-chief.
Moran also won a trip for two to Washington, D.C. Moran said that his mother will be his guest and that he plans to attend a series of events in the nation’s capital. The trip will be of special interest to Moran, who hopes to study political science at Vanderbilt University with an intent to become a lawyer.
The Constitution Bee was held at the Williamson County Administrative Complex, bringing students together from all over the region to compete. The contestants were able to sit in the same chairs used by the Williamson County Commissioners. The competition got off to a patriotic start as one of the judges, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel David Garcia, led the group in the Pledge of the Allegiance. Twelve seniors, four juniors, and one sophomore participated in the event. The youngest competitor was sophomore William Patterson, representing Columbia Central High School.
The competition featured a unique mix of multiple choice and true or false questions, an opening Preamble Challenge requiring contestants to deliver the beginning of the U.S. Constitution in a dramatic fashion, as well as a climatic essay round Although the competition began with 17 students, only eight made it to the essay round of the event. During the essay round, students were allowed 60 seconds to formulate their response to the question before presenting their answer to the panel of judges.
By the time the last round began, there were only three participants remaining in the tense competition. Aryan Burns, also from Lincoln High School, finished in second place, while Mt. Juliet senior Amanda Nolan finished in third place. Finishing her last year, Nolan plans to attend Vanderbilt University this fall, studying pre-med and political science. Burns, a junior, hopes to attend the University of Tennessee and study biology.