CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Students from McDowell, Summers and Wyoming counties celebrated Constitution Day today at the West Virginia Culture Center in observance of the national holiday which occurs on September 17 of each year. Students participated in activities that focused on increasing their understanding of both the Constitution and their rights and obligations as U.S. citizens.
"Today's event shines a spotlight on the important concepts of freedom, order and equality," said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Chuck Heinlein. "It is our responsibility to teach our children about the meaning of the Constitution and the fundamental principles of democracy. Celebrating Constitution Day can impact our students' lives and their future as responsible American citizens."
United States Attorney Booth Goodwin delivered the keynote remarks during Constitution Day events.
"The United States Constitution is truly one of the most revered and timeless documents ever produced," said Goodwin. "It is our nation's cornerstone. An appropriate way to honor its creation, along with the courageous statesmen who brought it into existence more than two centuries ago, is by educating our young people. This event provides students with a better understanding of Constitution Day's importance and a greater knowledge of what has made, and continues to make, our country so extraordinary."
Constitution Day is an American observance to commemorate the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution. The law establishing the present holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by U.S. Senator Robert Byrd. It is mandated that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on Constitution Day. In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.
Students participating in the Constitution Day celebration toured the West Virginia State Archives and West Virginia State Museum. Tours provided students with a view of well-known and average citizens whose contributions to our state, our nation and the world embody the precepts of both the West Virginia Constitution and the United States Constitution.
"The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is pleased to host the Constitution Day event at the Culture Center," said Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of West Virginia Division of Culture and History. "Throughout the West Virginia Museum and in the West Virginia Archives, we are able to offer a close-up look at our state and the people who have played roles in our state's proud history."
For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro in the West Virginia Department of Education Communications Office at 304-558-2699.