‘We the People’

Lauren Bucsko (left) and Nicole Cooper read the “We the People” during the Barnes Learning Center Constitution Day Celebration. The U.S. Constitution was signed Sept. 17, 1787, and schools in Marion County are having programs to remember that day.

Students all across the country are celebrating the birth of our nation’s Constitution, and Marion County is no exception.

Activities are planned in every public school in the county, in addition to events at Fairmont State University and West Virginia University.

The U.S. Constitution was signed Sept. 17, 1787.

The anniversary of the birth of the Constitution became a holiday after U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., attached an amendment to a federal spending bill in 2004. The law requires publicly funded educational institutions provide educational materials and activities on the history of the Constitution on that day.

Since Constitution Day falls on a Sunday this year, the holiday is celebrated Monday. Many of Marion County’s schools plan to participate in the nationwide celebration of the Constitution, when former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell will lead the nation’s school children in reciting the Preamble to the Constitution at 2 p.m. EST.

• The first celebration took place at East Park Elementary. Faculty and staff held an open house Thursday evening, with a mini-patriotic program. Throughout this week, teachers incorporated the Constitution into classes as much as possible. Students also signed a copy of the Constitution at school.

• At Barnes Alternative Learning Center, students discussed constitutional topics in their core classes, created a student bill of rights for the school and constructed a Constitution Hallway. The students also took part in a “We the People” assembly featuring student works, freedom essays, music and a keynote address by state Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion.

• At Dunbar Middle School, students will view a video from Byrd. School celebration organizers had invited Byrd to speak to the school. He was unable to attend, but sent a video in his stead. Students will also discuss the meaning of the preamble, view a DVD describing the historical events surrounding the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and wear red, white and blue clothing.

• Students at Blackshere Elementary will learn about the history of the Constitution through videos and multi-media presentations.

• Students at East Dale Elementary will also dress in patriotic colors to show their American spirit. The students will learn patriotic songs and create patriotic artwork. Teachers will use the event as the kickoff for teaching American government in the fifth grade.

• East Fairmont High will celebrate the Constitution all week long. Students will sign a “We the People” banner, write essays in English classes, make flags in art classes, and participate in a school-wide trivia contest. An assembly with patriotic music and slides is also planned.

• Students at East Fairmont Junior High will celebrate all week, but a special emphasis will be placed on the Constitution Friday. That day, students will read the Preamble over the public address system, and social studies teachers will present special lessons on the Bill of Rights.

• Fairmont Senior High is celebrating the day by encouraging students to vote. A school-wide push to register voting-age students will take place Tuesday. All students will study the Constitution in their social studies classes.

• Fairview Middle School students have been answering questions on the Constitution’s Preamble since Sept. 4. The school is also sponsoring a poster contest and studying the document in class.

• Students at Jayenne Elementary will participate in week-long events designed for their grade level. Also, a fact about the Constitution will be read each morning during announcements.

• At Mannington Middle, students celebrated Friday. They were given a timeline of constitutional events and participated in lessons, including watching an informational DVD.

• At Marion County Technical Center, students will view a DVD and participate in class discussions. Students will also contribute to a bulletin board detailing freedoms we enjoy as a result of the Constitution.

• Miller Junior High students will participate in a poster, essay or poem contest, and participate in a signing ceremony.

• Wednesday afternoon, students at Monongah Elementary will participate in an assembly, including reading the Preamble to the Constitution, readings by students representing historical figures and singing patriotic songs.

• Students at North Marion High will also celebrate all week. Theater students will present historical figures and events through the daily 3NTV broadcast. Students will also participate in a trivia contest. Books and videos on the Constitution will be featured in the library.

• Teachers in the music, art and media specialties at Pleasant Valley Elementary will collaborate to present activities for the school, including music, songs, literature and games. The school will also participate in the nationwide reading Monday.

• At Rivesville Elementary/Middle, students will have lessons on the Constitution, participate in reading the Preamble Monday morning, and take part in a school-wide red, white and blue dressing day. The best-dressed elementary and middle school students will be awarded prizes.

• Watson Elementary students will celebrate LAWS (Learning About America by Watson Students) Monday. Through various selections of literature, songs and art, students will explore not only the history of the Constitution, but what it means in their own personal lives. Students will also look at the process of becoming a naturalized citizen and develop an appreciation for the cultural diversity within our country.

• Students at White Hall Elementary will participate in a variety of activities Monday, from wearing patriotic colors to signing the school’s constitution.

Fairmont State University and West Virginia University will host roundtable discussions on constitutional issues.

FSU’s event will begin at 1 p.m. Monday in Multimedia Room A of the Ruth Ann Music Library. Professors of education, English, criminal justice and political science will join the director of the Wesley Foundation to discuss “Education, Religion, and the Constitution in a Democratic Society.”

At 12:45 p.m. Monday, WVU officials will gather in the College of Law’s Lugar Courtroom for a discussion on judicial independence. A short video of Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Conner, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer discussing the topic will be shown; then an audience discussion will take place.

E-mail Katie Wilson at kwilson@timeswv.com.

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