During the next week, Bartow County students will be learning all about the principles on which the United States was founded.
Each year, Americans observe Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week, a national commemoration of one of the country’s most important documents.
Events are planned throughout the week to help students learn about the document that’s maintained Americans’ freedom and ensured their inalienable rights for more than 220 years.
“The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Etowah Chapter proudly sponsors Constitution Week in Bartow County,” said Carol Steele Key, vice regent of the chapter.
“Our main objective is to make the citizens and students of Bartow County aware of the importance in knowing the contents of the U.S. Constitution. Two years ago, Barry Loudermilk graciously read the entire Constitution and amendments in front of the historic Bartow County Courthouse. Since then, we have been on a mission of bringing the knowledge of the Constitution to this great county.”
The Constitution, which is the oldest document still being used that outlines the self-government of a people, stands as an icon of freedom for people around the world. The landmark idea that people have the inalienable right as individuals to be free and live their lives under their own governance was the impetus of the American Revolution.
“Constitution Week is the perfect opportunity to read and study this great document, which is the safeguard of our American liberties,” DAR President General Lynn Forney Young said in a press release. “We encourage all citizens across the country to take time this week to reflect on our heritage of freedom and come together to celebrate America.”
The tradition of celebrating the Constitution began many years ago. In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside the week of Sept. 17-23 each year for the observance of Constitution Week, according to the release.
The resolution later was adopted by Congress and signed into Public Law No. 915 on Aug. 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The celebration has three goals: to emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity; to inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for its way of life; and to encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
“All schools nationwide, under Public Law No. 915, must study the Constitution during the week of Sept. 17-23 or face losing their federal funding,” Key said. “Our treasurer, Amy Nation, has given information packets to all schools, filled with ideas on promoting Constitution Week. Bartow County schools are doing some amazing activities during this week that include Constitution displays, bell ringings, re-enactments, skits and special programs.”
Thursday morning, Georgia’s first Constitution town crier and Abigail Adams were at Cloverleaf Elementary to proclaim the beginning of Constitution Week then continued their journey around Cartersville’s Town Square and to Booth Western Art Museum, Key said.
This morning, the NSDAR, Etowah Chapter will present an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol to Pine Log Elementary in honor of its students’ exceptional Bill of Rights presentation last year, she said.
The chapter, with the help of American Legion Carl Boyd Post 42, has bought 2,500 pocket Constitutions to hand out, along with other important materials, Key said. Last year, copies went to all fourth- and fifth-graders in the county; this year, copies will be handed out to all high school history classes and all fourth-graders in the county.
Again this year, there is an art poster contest on the theme “Celebrate America” for all interested students. Entries will be judged by Kent Mullinax at the Booth Museum.
“Last year, we had five posters that went to the national level for judging,” Key said. “All five placed in different categories. We even had a national first-place winner, Delaney Thompson from Cartersville High School. She received a U.S. flag that had flown over our U.S. Capitol and a certificate.”
Cartersville High has a number of activities planned for Constitution Week.
Each morning, students will read Constitution minutes and share information and famous quotes during announcements.
Principal Marc Feuerbach signed a proclamation recognizing Constitution Week at the high school, and it will be part of a display in the media center to honor the Constitution.
Rick Holsomback’s classes will be reading the entire Constitution booklet provided by the DAR during the week. Students must have the booklet signed by their teacher and parent, confirming that they read it.
Valerie Webb’s classes will be writing letters of gratitude for law enforcement, which will be presented to the school’s resource officer by Wednesday.
And once again, Alicia Murray’s art classes have entered the art poster contest.
At Taylorsville Elementary School, students are watching videos on Schoolhouse Rock’s “The Constitution,” flag etiquette and protocol, the history of the Constitution, the hip-hop version of “U.S. Constitution for Kids” and “Muppets Re-Enact the Continental Congress.”
They also watched Principal Dr. Bernadette DiPetta sign a proclamation for Constitution Week, discussed facts and trivia about the document and had special lessons in the media center.
For Constitution Day Thursday, students dressed in red, white and blue or as their favorite colonial America historical figure and rang bells to commemorate the signing of the document.
The art teacher also had students participate in the DAR art contest, and the gifted-program teachers had students enter the essay contest.
Woodland High School’s health care classes wrote letters to soldiers through the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project for wounded soldiers. They also discussed how health care workers serve in the military and learned about Landstuhl Military Hospital in Germany.
One of Woodland’s government classes had a debate about the school dress code and the First Amendment rights.
Schools aren’t the only places where activities are taking place.
This year, Constitution proclamation signings were held in Adairsville, Cartersville, Emerson, Euharlee, Kingston and White.
The DAR put Constitution Week displays in all three Bartow County libraries that contained framed copies of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and The American’s Creed, as well as an American flag, a bald eagle and a DAR Constitution Week poster.
“These items were respectfully placed on patriotic fabric as a reminder of our heritage,” Key said. “The library staff added Revolutionary [War] books to the display.”
Sunday has been declared Constitutional Sunday, and all churches in Bartow County are asked to have a special prayer for the nation and to sing “God Bless America” during their services.
Local businesses are asked to acknowledge the week by placing patriotic items in their windows, and residents are asked to “show your patriotism by flying their American flag proudly,” Key said.
“Let our county set the standard for the ideals this great nation was founded on,” she said. “May God bless America.”
Statewide, more than 120,000 fourth-graders will receive a pocket copy of the Constitution, which also includes the Declaration of Independence, the lyrics for the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, being distributed by state school Superintendent Richard Woods and the Georgia Department of Education.
“We are providing these Constitutions as a gift for our students and, as a former social studies teacher, as a resource for educators,” Woods said in a press release. “The Constitution is the bedrock of our beliefs and values as a country — this document that begins, so appropriately, ‘We the people’ and not ‘We the government.’ Knowing that more than 120,000 fourth-graders can now carry those words with them, literally and figuratively, is a great thing.”
The Constitutions were purchased and distributed with funds donated by the American Legion–Department of Georgia, ITTI Global Inc., General Building Maintenance, the Georgia Council on Economics Education, the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and anonymous donors.
“I’m so grateful to these donors, who ensured that we could provide this important resource to our students at no expense to Georgia taxpayers,” Woods said. “I deeply appreciate their assistance in our efforts to increase the civic awareness of Georgia’s students.”