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Tyngsboro, MA – In truth, they would have been happy to make the top 3. But winning the state championship was a whole lot sweeter.

Academy of Notre Dame Tyngsboro won the state title in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Competition held at the John F. Kennedy School of Government on January 26th. The team will advance to represent the state of Massachusetts in the National Competition April 26-29 in Washington, DC.

Sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, is an annual competition for high school students styled as a congressional hearing where each team prepares and defends a response to particular questions of Constitutional interest.

“The girls have worked so hard throughout the entire year to reach this point,” said Kristine Forsgard, team moderator and Academy faculty member. “Just with current events in the last week, they’ve had to update and edit their responses to stay current. They truly have earned this accomplishment.”

Public and private schools from across the state competed in the contest with over eighteen judges grading students’ oral responses to a variety of questions. The contest measured depth of knowledge, poise under pressure, the ability to articulate ideas and breadth of understanding.

The Academy has taken part in the competition for several years and placed third overall last year. This year’s team victory marked the first in the school’s history. The victory is even more impressive when you consider the advantages other schools around the state have.

“Our girls prepare for the competition in addition to completing their AP or Honors U.S. History course work,” said Forsgard. “In many cases, the other schools actually have a “We The People” class their teams take as Seniors as part of their preparation for the competition.”

Forsgard credits the preparation for the competition as critical to the overall academic development for the young women. “These girls graduate knowing how to do high-level research,” said Forsgard. “They know how to analyze. They know how to write. When we say we’re preparing people for college, this is one of the ways we do it in humanities.”Winning Students

The championship team included Anastasia Bevillard (Lowell), Jordan Blazak (Pelham), Lydia Brown (Brookline), Maggie Corey (Pepperell), Caitlin Favreau (North Andover), Hannah French (New Boston), Olivia Hart (Westford), Johnna Iannibelli (North Andover), Adorrah-Le Khan (Lowell), Sara Ann Kurkul (North Andover), Kaili Martin (Wilmington), Mary Kate McCarthy (Tyngsboro), Christina Mitsopoulos , Justine Morelli, Kaelan O’Fallon (Lowell), Rebekah Paxton (Groton), Sarah Scully (Nashua), Julia Smith (Tewksbury), Alanna Woodlock (Wells, ME) and Tanusha Yarlagadda (North Chelmsford).

The Academy of Notre Dame is a private, Catholic college-preparatory high school for young women and a co-educational Pre-K-through grade 8 elementary and middle school sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and based upon the philosophy of their foundress, St. Julie Billiart. The Academy welcomes students of all faiths. It has a culturally diverse population comprised of students from approximately forty cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as international students. For more information about the Academy, visit