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Christina's Story

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Founding father James Madison said that “a popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.” Service learning taught me that civics education is the exact means intended by Madison to prevent the history of the United States of America from becoming a misunderstood fable. Through my journey with civics education, I had the opportunity to face some of the same moral and technical dilemmas that plagued the authors of American history and was able to formulate my own perspective regarding their solutions to these problems. Through hands-on debates and guided explorations, I was forced to rethink some of my critical assumptions about society and reexamine the need for everyone to understand how the government functions. In class, we studied the same concepts that I found myself and my peers encountering in our real lives. It appears that the hurdles the writers of history confronted in 1776, the obstacles the modern revolutionaries faced during the civil rights movements, and the questions students in our classrooms grapple with today are one and the same. I am grateful to my civics teacher for teaching my peers and I how to navigate the complex concepts addressed in civics education. It is because of strong educators that our history can be written and re-read as a heroic tale as opposed to the satirical tragedy Madison feared.