In 2004, the Congress decided that “Constitution Day” should be observed in schools each year on September 17th with educational programs about the history and signing of the Constitution. To help celebrate Constitution Day, eight newspapers and the New Hampshire Supreme Court have sponsored an annual "Constitution Day Essay Contest" for grades 5-12 on a topic related to our constitutional rights as citizens. Winning essays are published in the participating newspapers and winners are invited, along with parents and teachers, to a special reception at the state Supreme Court and to the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications First Amendment Awards.
Message from the Commissioner
I would like to call your attention to a wonderful educational project, the annual “Constitution Day Essay Contest” sponsored by New Hampshire daily newspapers and the New Hampshire Supreme Court. I encourage you to bring the contest to the attention of your Social Studies faculty and hope they will find the time to include it in their teaching plans.
As you know, Congress in 2004 declared that "Constitution Day" should be observed in schools each year on September 17th with educational programs about the history and signing of the Constitution. The “Constitution Day Essay Contest” is a great way to provide students in grades 5-12 an opportunity to think about this powerful document which is the foundation of our democracy.
The contest, however, is more than an opportunity for children to write historical or theoretical essays about the Founding Fathers and the effort they put into crafting the Constitution in the quill and ink days. It is a real exercise in the continued relevance of the Constitution and its protections in the current environment of instant and constant communications. This year’s essay question asks students for their thoughts on whether they should have to share their passwords for Facebook or other Social Media sites with employers or school officials. The question is posted on the Judicial Branch Web site along with helpful links to research materials, contest rules and important deadlines.
In November, all the contest finalists, their families and teachers were invited to an awards ceremony at the Supreme Court during which the statewide middle and high school winners read their essays a loud from the well of the courtroom. A reception with the Chief Justice and members of the court, held in the justices’ conference room, follows the ceremony. This event, at our state’s highest court, is a very special recognition for all the teachers and students who participate.
For busy teachers, this contest provides a valuable opportunity to teach about the Constitution and how it affects students with situations they can relate to in their daily lives. I urge you to take a look at the materials on the Judicial Branch Web site and consider engaging your students in this chance to research, discuss and learn about the modern day importance of our Constitution.
For more information go to www.courts.state.nh.us/student/contest.htm.
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