WASHINGTON (WSVN) – A group of South Florida students returned home as national champions after they won a competition in Washington, D.C.

The young scholars from Miami Lakes Middle School are now national first place winners after they won the We the People National Invitational, Monday.

“They have to know Supreme Court cases, they have to know documents, they have to know current events and how they relate to the Constitution, so there’s a lot of law that they must be aware of,” said teacher Lisa Deyarza.

This is not the team’s first win, as they have won multiple competitions throughout the school year.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott even posed for a picture with the reigning national champions who represented the state of Florida in the competition.

The competition, held at the National Conference Center, tested their knowledge of law, the Constitution and government.

In February, the middle school team wasn’t sure they would be able to take part in the competition because they had to raise $35,000 in three weeks to travel there.

“We want to prove to everyone that didn’t believe in us that we can do it,” said student Melanie Mahmoodi. “A lot of us come from working class families, and for us, being first in a lot of things is extremely fundamental.”

Karina Mahmoodi, one of the students’ parents, worked to get the word out about the students’ GoFundMe page, aiming to raise the majority of the money needed.

The students and their parents returned home with smiles on their faces and a sense of pride.

“It was just mind-blowing, and we’re so excited and proud because hard work does pay off and it has shown,” said Mahmoodi.

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