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Phoenix Youth Wins Citizenship Bee

June 24, 1991

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Phoenix, Ariz. high school senior recited portions of the U.S. Constitution, answered geography questions and explained economic theory Monday to win a national citizenship competition and a $12,000 scholarship.

Frank Pasquale III, 17, of Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, won the Close Up Foundation Citizen Bee with a total of 159 points, one point away from a perfect score of 160.

Competing for the third year, Pasquale sealed the victory when he correctly explained that in 1789 there were two classes of senators who served either two years or four years to provide continuity within a state legislature. He was given the question after winning an appeal of an earlier ruling of the judges.

John Van DeWeert of Dryden, N.Y., won second place and an $8,000 scholarship with 156 points. Van DeWeert left directly from his high school graduation Saturday night to come to Washington to begin the competition Sunday morning.

Carlton F.W. Larson of Dickinson, N.D., won third place with 151 points and a $4,000 scholarship.

Both Larson and Van DeWeert participated last year in the program sponsored by Close Up Foundation, an educational organization that acquaints students with the issues and processes of government.

″I just memorized the Constitution, that’s about it,″ said an elated Pasquale, explaining how he had prepared for the competition. ″My father went over the book with me for an hour each night.

″Behind every successful student is a pushy mother,″ added Pasquale, who wants to attend Harvard University.

Fifteen young men out of a total 113 social studies high school students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories advanced to Monday’s final competition at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. The students were selected based on the number of points they collected for written and oral tests on American history, geography, government, economics and current events.

More than 140,000 students from 3,700 high schools participated in the Close Up Citizen Bee program this year.

In the seventh round, Pasquale appealed the judges’ ruling that he incorrectly explained Article II of the Constitution.

″Assume you challenge an incumbent senator in an election,″ said the moderator. ″From the Senate floor, your opponent attacks not only your position on an issue, but also your personal morality and professional ethics. According to Article II of the Constitution, what remedy can you seek for this slanderous speech?″

Pasquale said either impeachment or censure. Senators may not be impeached, but the judges ruled the question faulty since immunity of members of Congress from suits for slander is conferred by Article I, Section 6.

They agreed to let Pasquale answer another question at the end of the competition. That was the question on senatorial terms.

In the opening round, Pasquale was asked whether Thomas Jefferson would be likely to agree with an argument made by William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic National Convention. At the convention, Bryan said ″the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies.″

Pasquale said Jefferson would be likely to agree because he thought agriculture was more important than industry.

Financial backing for the sixth annual Citizen Bee came from Burger King Corp., KPMG Peat Marwick, the Milken Family Foundation and Kraft General Foods. National scholarships were provided by American Honda Foundation.

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