The public is invited to cheer on Wayne County’s students competing in the first local 2024 National Civics Bee — and even wear red, white and blue if desired. 

Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce has coordinated the bee. It begins at 6 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Indiana University East’s Vivian Auditorium in Whitewater Hall, 2325 Chester Blvd., Richmond. 

Eighteen middle schoolers will demonstrate their civics knowledge and discuss how they’d solve a problem facing their community. 

This year’s competitors represent Hagerstown Jr./Sr. High School, Hibberd Intermediate, Northeastern Middle School and Richmond Friends School. 

The competitors are Maxwell Adams, Elena Blankenship, Marisol Colaj, Alice Couch, Ellie Fost, Gus Golliher, Olivia Harris, Brooklyn Lee, Amalia Lerner, Alex Lerner, Claire Mainous, James “Max” McClain, Lillian Miller, Sadie Penrod, Chrissie Santiago, Abby Smith, Makayla Stubblefield and Cailene Webster. 

The event aims to encourage more young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities. 

Judges are Richmond Mayor Ron Oler, Richmond Common Councilor Lucinda Wright and Wayne County Commissioner Jeff Plasterer. Rick Duncan from G101.3 will be emcee. 

Blue Buffalo, IU East, Merchants Bank, Primex Plastics, Transcendia and Cochran & Associates are sponsoring the bee.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 17 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.