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Baylor civics summer camp helps middle schoolers tackle big community issues

iEngage Summer Civics Institute
Posted at 3:23 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 19:33:25-04

WACO, Texas — Baylor School of Education's award-winning 'iEngage Summer Civics Institute' is taking place this week, teaching middle school students how to be active citizens.

The program is hosting 80 students, with group projects and guest speakers designed to encourage students to answer big questions and teach them ways to have difficult discussions with one another.

On Wednesday, students participated in a 'Shark Tank'-style presentation, pitching ways to solve community problems such as pollution and homelessness.

"They are the people that are going to be running our government, they are going to be the citizens who have a voice," said iEngage director Karon Lecompte, explaining the importance of the program.

Founded in 2013 after a conversation with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the program was canceled in 2020 and 2021 over COVID-19 concerns.

"It's very inspiring. It thrusts you to help your community and support Waco," said incoming sixth grader and iEngage participant Miles Henderson.

Just last week, the program received the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education after a nomination from Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht.

"We're the only camp in the nation to have won that award so, we're very proud," Lecompte said.

The program began Monday and will run until this Friday.