Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Constitution Day celebration is a real
‘Yankee Doodle’ dandy at middle school
By Tammy Lane
Fayette County Public School
Crawford Middle School in Lexington rolled out the red, white and blue carpet for Constitution Day, celebrating with the mayor, Miss Kentucky and members of historic groups who trace their lineage back to Revolutionary War times.
“We talk about government, but sometimes it doesn’t seem real to the students. I wanted to make an effort to show them real people,” said social studies teacher Margaret Van Hook, who planned the Sept. 17 schoolwide assembly.
(Photos from FCPS)
Among the guests were Margie Shelton from the Bluegrass Chapter of the Daughters of the American Colonists, who donated small flags for each student; Sarah Hamilton from the Lexington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who brought Preamble bookmarks for everyone; and Amanda McNew from Woodmen of the World, who presented a new U.S. flag and a 1776 flag for the gym. At the start of the program, a handful of men from the Lafayette Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution – dressed in period costumes – presented the colors.
Mayor Jim Gray noted how the town of Lexington was settled in 1775, before the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and he mentioned two particular amendments: the First, which guaranteed freedom of speech; and the Thirteenth, which abolished slavery.
“We’ve experienced wars and really big problems, yet over that long span of time, our government has stayed together,” said Gray, who studied American history in college. “So much was wrapped around this framework of our Constitution.”
In a class sing-off, the sixth-graders won with “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and enjoyed a Constitution birthday party at the end of the school day.
“We went over the songs and what they meant,” said JaLeesa Haddix, whose classmates bested the seventh-graders’ “This Land is Your Land” and the eighth-graders’ “My Country ’Tis of Thee.”
A group from the Diana Evans School of Dance performed two numbers – one to Beyonce’s version of the National Anthem and one a hip-hop dance to “What Does the Constitution Do?” Earlier, Miss Kentucky Jessica Casebolt sang the National Anthem and led students in the Schoolhouse Rock rendition of “We the People.”
“In elementary and junior high, the Constitution was one of my favorite things to study,” said Casebolt, now a political science major at Georgetown College.
Since the Constitution only comes up in eighth-grade curriculum in second semester, Crawford teachers prepared all their students with mini lessons in the past few days. Most focused on the Preamble, the seven articles and the Bill of Rights. They also talked about representative government and the fact that the mayor is an elected local leader.
According to Principal Mike Jones, the intent of Constitution Day was to help students understand “the skeleton of the United States, the backbone that makes us what we are.”
“We’ve been through a lot of struggles, but at the end of the day, we’re still standing and it’s because of that great document. It gives us the freedoms and rights we have today,” Jones said.