CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More than 250 eighth graders from Roane, Raleigh and Cabell counties celebrated Citizenship Day at the West Virginia Culture Center on Monday with activities focusing on civics education, patriotism and history.
“Today’s event shines a spotlight on a very important topic,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “It is our responsibility to teach our children about democracy and what it means to be good citizens. We know that students who study civics are more apt to vote, to contact their representatives and to be more tolerant of those with differing opinions from their own.”
Citizenship Day also recognizes both Patriots Day, which occurs on September 11 of each year in memory of the 2,977 victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Constitution Day, a federal observance of the adoption of the United States Constitution. The law establishing Constitution Day 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 September 17, Constitution Day. In May 2005, the U.S. Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.
United States Attorney Booth Goodwin delivered the keynote remarks during Citizenship 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."
During Citizenship Day, students participated in a mock legislature and toured the West Virginia State Archives and West Virginia State Museum.
"The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is pleased to host the Citizenship Day program 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."
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.
Citizenship Day is sponsored by several civics organizations. Additional groups participating in the day-long event were the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia; Office of West Virginia Secretary of State; League of Women Voters West Virginia; The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia; West Virginia Bar Foundation; West Virginia Library Commission; West Virginia Humanities Council; West Virginia Center for Civic Life; and the Youth Leadership Association.
For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.