Blackfoot High School government teacher Holly Kartchner was thrilled with the support her "We The People" students received from the community on Thursday night.
We The People is a class which learns about our democratic government and meets other schools in a competitive environment. The Broncos have won the state competition and the right to compete on the national level in Washington, D.C.
The 16 students and their chaperones also earned the responsibility to raise the money to pay for that trip. The cost will be approximately $26,000. They have been fundraising in a variety of ways since the start of the school year.
Kartchner said the U.S. Congress, which created the program, has provided $8,000 for the participants from each state in previous years. But, the lawmakers cut the funding this year.
Members of the community poured into the American Legion Hall for a pancake supper on Thursday. Kartchner said they sold 400 tickets as many people from the community came through the door.
"I had two daughters in prior years who've done it," Tony Norton said of the program. "It was a good learning experience for them."
"It's good to be part of good things," said Gordon Wankier, who brought some of his grandchildren.
"I always help out the kids when I can," said Ken Condon. "I'm hoping Holly has this program still going when these guys â€” his sons who are 12 and 10 â€” get that age."
The students are seniors.
Police chief Dave Moore, who has worked with the students to help hone their skills throughout the year, said, "it would be nice to sit down with them a couple of years from now and see where they are. They're impressive."
Mayor Mike Virtue added, "these kids represent the state, not Blackfoot, when they go to Washington."
While the supper is one of their major fundraisers, the students will continue to raise money until they leave from Washington, D.C., in late April.