CAST Schools » CAST Schools Speak Up Speak Out San Antonio Civics Fair

SAVE THE DATE: January 19, 2024

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What is the San Antonio Civics Fair?


Speak Up Speak Out, or, “SUSO” is a civic education program that provides students with an opportunity to activate their voice and discover the power they have in changing their communities for the better.  Students will be equipped with civic skills, knowledge, and dispositions necessary to make a positive difference.

For the 5th year, CAST Schools will host the annual Speak Up Speak Out (SUSO) San Antonio Civics Fair in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Who can participate?


The civics fair is open to all 3rd to 12th grade students across the greater San Antonio Region who wish to make a difference in their community. Select teams participating in the CAST Schools Speak Up Speak Out San Antonio Civics Fair SUSO will advance to the state-wide civics fair hosted by the Annette Strauss Institute from the University of Texas at Austin.

Develop the skills needed to solve personal and community problems.


Throughout this project, students will work with a small group or with a partner to identify a problem in their community and attempt to create a long-term solution for it. Students will conduct extensive research through conducting interviews, surveys, and by exploring digital and library resources.  As students begin to craft their solutions, they will work with community experts to receive authentic feedback on their proposed ideas. All groups will present their findings via speeches and a digital presentation to a panel of judges.

While we recognize that there is an element of competition, we want to emphasize that the real success is not in, “winning” the competitions, but in developing the skills that are needed to solve personal and community problems.  In addition to honing these important, life-long skills, students will practice mastering social studies content, reading, writing, and communication skills, as well as collaboration and time management skills.

2024 Civics Fair Theme

Empowering Students Through Community Action

Key Dates

October 12, 2023
East Central ISD Patterson Center for Performing Arts
Community Launch
October 27, 2023
Registration Deadline
December 15, 2023
Speed Interviews
January 19, 2024
Texas A&M-San Antonio
San Antonio Regional Finals
February 2
State Video Submission Deadline

Interested in Judging? Register here:

Join us Friday, January 19, 2024, from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM, and help us judge student ideas. Your feedback provides invaluable guidance for students to continue developing their ideas and improving their pitch for the state finals. The day starts with a training session and an optional lunch.

Step 1 of 2

How to Speak Up Speak Out

Items to include in your presentation:

  • Problem Statement
  • Include Photos of the problem (They can be shown throughout the presentation)
  • Share interviews: Audio, Video, Text, Screenshots of email)
  • Data, Charts and Graphs (Show statistics or survey results)
  • The main cause of the problem
  • Identify who is in charge and what are they doing about it
  • History of the issue: How long has this problem been happening?
  • How has the issue affected you?
  • Solution Statement
  • Solution Plan
  • Steps you have taken or would like to take
  • What would you do if you had funding
  • Special Thanks
  • Bibliography
Create and sign your group contract and choose a SMART problem.
Write a specific problem method, create methods of collecting data, compile interviews, identify the "root cause," history, and current status of the problem. Determine who is in charge, who are your opponents, allies, and current solutions.

Specific problem statement

  • What is your problem, where is it happening, and who is affected by it?
  • How are you personally affected by this issue?
  • Why does this problem matter?
  • What were some of the most shocking statistics that you found? (Research)

Specific solution statement

  • What do you think needs to be done?
  • How will this solution address the “Root Cause” of the problem?
  • What have you already started to do?
  • What do you plan on doing to make sure this solution is long-term?
  • What can the general public do to help solve the problem?


  • Your digital presentation will be shown at the same time as you are reading your speeches. The slides you create should MATCH the flow of your speeches!
  • You will have a total of 8 minutes to present. (4 minutes for each speech)
  • Your slideshow should be clear, organized, and engaging!
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Have more questions?

Click here to access the full Speak Up Speak Out  Facilitation Guides provided by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. You can also contact the regional coordinator, Alexandra Rodriguez at