Area Middle Schoolers Compete in First National Civics Bee® Hosted by Grand Rapids Chamber

The Grand Rapids Chamber proudly announces JaeEun Yun from Byron Center Christian School as the winner of the first 2024 National Civics Bee® hosted in West Michigan. This initiative aims to encourage more young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities. The top three finalists received trophies and a ticket to the State Civics Bee:


The Winners:

1st Place: JaeEun Yun, Byron Center Christian School, $500 prize

2nd Place: Micah Sitte, Jenison Junior High, $250 prize

3rd Place: Jude Westra, East Grand Rapids Middle School, $150 prize


All participants went home with an iPad and certificate.

“It was really interesting to study and I learned a lot of new stuff,” said Yun. “It was a really great experience for me, and I think it’s good for students to participate in this.” Yun focused on education solutions and funding for private schools in his essay and discussion in the final round of the competition.

“You could tell they studied and worked really hard to identify an issue in their community, how it was connected to government, and what they could do to be a part of the solution,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “I think they’re all potential future leaders.”

Organized in partnership with The Civic Trust® of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the competition in Grand Rapids inspired middle schoolers to become better informed about American democracy, to engage respectfully and constructively in the community, and to build greater trust in others and institutions.  

“Advancing civic engagement and leadership is one way we can create a more prosperous West Michigan,” said Senior VP of Advocacy and Strategic Engagement Andy Johnston. “It was inspiring to see middle schoolers demonstrate their civics knowledge and ideas to create stronger communities.”


The Process:

Middle school students from the region were invited to submit a 500-word civics essay. The top writers went on to compete in the live quiz portion of the event to test their civics knowledge, which was judged by Grand Rapids Chamber CEO and President Rick Baker, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, and the Director of the GVSU Hauenstein Center Megan Rydecki.

Participating schools included:

  • Byron Center Christian School
  • Cross Creek Charter Academy
  • Dutton Christian School
  • East Grand Rapids Middle School
  • Jenison Junior High
  • Riley Street Middle School
  • Rockford Middle School
  • Trinitas Classical School

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