Middle Gate Celebrates Constitution Day
For Middle Gate Elementary School’s Constitution Day assembly on September 17, students and staff dressed in festive red, white, and blue attire: It was a day to celebrate the start of the school’s Constitution Week.
A sign draped along the back of a piano read, “We the people of Middle Gate School...”
Fourth grade teacher Linda Baron oversaw the assembly — with help from her fourth grade students — and music teacher Tina Jones led the students in singing throughout the event.
The assembly began with everyone singing “America the Beautiful.”
Ms Baron then told the students that in 1639, Connecticut’s constitution, called “The Fundamental Orders,” was drafted. Later, Connecticut was nicknamed “The Constitution State.”
As a group exercise, Ms Baron then asked the assembled students to tell her what they think would happen if there were no rules or laws. Students said, “It would be dangerous,” “People could be mean to each other,” and “It would be chaos.” In explaining how the country’s Constitution represents many voices, Ms Baron said she created her own laws for Middle Gate School. From then on, there would be a 15 cent tax on each piece of paper a student used, there would be increased homework, and students would attend school on Saturday mornings. When students voiced concern and agitation over the new rules, Ms Baron took them back, admitting that she should have consulted the entire school community before drafting the new laws.
“All voices have to be heard. All voices matter,” Ms Baron said.
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal then spoke. Roughly 230 years ago in 1789, when the United States Constitution was enacted, Mr Rosenthal said the country’s founders created a document that granted freedoms and could be amended. It outlined the governing branches while being able to change as the country changed, he reflected.
Voters still hold the keys to the country, Mr Rosenthal told the students.
“Being a good citizen takes time and it takes effort,” Mr Rosenthal said. “I think as students, it is never too early to learn that, because when you turn 18, the country is going to count on you to vote.”
Later, students shared historical stories about how the Constitution came to be written. Ms Jones then led students in singing “Grand Old Flag” and “Yankee Doodle.”
Ms Baron said she wants the students to think about the freedoms they have; the community, town, and country they live in; and “always be kind.” That, she said, is how they can honor the Constitution every day.
Middle Gate Principal Chris Geissler and Mr Rosenthal then declared it “Constitution Week at Middle Gate School.” They signed a document of their own with students Thomas Garvin and Anabelle Lemieux acting and signing as witnesses on the document in front of the entire assembly.