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From left are Kieran Walsh, Lluvia Ochoa, Andrew Slominski and Ulysses Keyser taking the civics test at the Arizona State Capitol on May 4, 2023.

It was an experience in real time. On May 4, a class of 58 ninth graders from Great Hearts Cicero Prep in Scottsdale took their civics test from the floor of the Arizona State Capitol.

“The chance for our students to take their test in a place where so many of our state’s historical documents were debated and discussed is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that really brings history off the page,” said teacher Summer Clissold. “It helps make it real for them.”

The students were on a field trip to learn about the state’s three branches of government. Arizona State Rep. Joseph Chaplik, who is also a Great Hearts Scottsdale Prep parent, secured the field trip for the students.

“It was a pleasure to host the Cicero students here at the state capitol,” Chaplik said. “What better place to take a civics test than at the seat of our state government and see the legislative process in action firsthand. I hope their experience was informative and enlightening.”

The ninth graders toured the onsite museum learning from a collection of artifacts important to the history of Arizona, including a flag sewn for Arizona volunteers in the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry regiment that was believed to be carried by the Rough Riders during the Battle of San Juan Hill. The ninth graders were also able to see documents and banners from New Mexico and Arizona’s Statehood debates along with pieces recovered from the U.S.S. Arizona.

“It was extraordinary to get to take our test in one of the founding buildings of Arizona,” said student Kieran Walsh. “The working Senate chambers were grand and prestigious.”

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On May 4, a class of 58 ninth graders from Great Hearts Cicero Prep in Scottsdale took their civics test from the floor of the Arizona State Capitol.

After the tour through the capitol students put what they had learned throughout their semester to paper by taking a test inside the historic Senate Chamber.

“Taking the test in the original capitol helped me understand the government of Arizona better,” said student Alexandra McMahan.

“It’s a different experience seeing the capitol building from just reading about it in a textbook. Getting to see the new Senate chambers helped me understand better what being a senator would be like. I found myself thinking about how the surroundings of the Senate chambers would influence a senator’s thoughts. I also was able to see how far Arizona as a state has come and how our history influences our present.”

Great Hearts Cicero Prep Academy is located at 7205 N. Pima Road in Scottsdale. The school is part of the Great Hearts’ network of tuition-free nonprofit public charter schools dedicated to improving education nationwide through classical preparatory K-12 academies.

The schools have no entry or testing requirements to enroll and accept any student who applies if a seat is available. More information can be found at

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