AP Government Class Visits Oregon Supreme Court

Matt Killpack’s AP Government class did not have to travel to Salem when they visited the Oregon Supreme Court on October 18th, the Court came to them.

As a part of a community outreach tour the Oregon Supreme Court visited Redmond High School and heard two cases. Killpack decided to capitalize on opportunity to let the AP Government class experience the topics they are learning in class first hand.

“I was approached by a constitutional lawyer in Bend and she asked if RPA would like to do something like this so of course I jumped on that because it's a very unique opportunity for us,”  said Killpack. “Then I asked her if she’d come in and speak with the class about the cases and about constitutional law and she did that as well.”

With both the discussion of practice directed by attorney Alycia Sykora and the subsequent sit in during court proceedings, the school’s AP Government class was able to view the real world applications of aspects of the constitution they studied in class.

Junior Karla Mora described the opportunity as beneficial because of the insight it provided. “I am interested in that field so seeing [the case] go down was good for me,” said Mora.

“I can teach about law all day but getting your hands dirty by going and doing something like that is way more valuable,” said Killpack. “Seeing it first hand — especially because no one drives to Salem to watch a Supreme Court case — and to see it argued in front of us is an incredibly unique opportunity.”

Not only were students demonstrated the value of what they were studying, the entire endeavor will go to support them come May on the AP test, according to Killpack.

“A lot of the curriculum is about Supreme Court stuff, not necessarily at the state level but at the federal level, but it's a very similar platform to what the supreme court does at a federal level. Several questions will be about how to appeal a case, how the Supreme Court uses judicial review and looks at interpreting the law, and looking at the letter of the law vs the theory of the law,” said Killpack.

According to Mora, one of the best parts of the entire experience was asking the Justices questions after each trial. Students questions ranged from those exploring different aspects of the practice of law to how the Justices were enjoying Redmond. This allowed for the students to “see a more personal side” of Oregon’s highest court.

When asked if she would attend another trial, Mora said, “Depending on the case, yeah, I think I would go.”