FRANKLIN, Tennessee – The Tennessee Star announced today it is publishing the first of twenty-five weekly articles in its Constitution Series for secondary school students, teachers and parents tomorrow, Monday, April 3.
“The idea behind this series is to present the important story of our Constitution to Tennessee secondary students in grades 8 through 12 in a compelling way that will engage them on both an intellectual and emotional level,” says Christina Botteri, managing editor of The Star.
“Each week we will advance the narrative of the Constitution in chronological order. Along the way, secondary students can use these articles as a guide to prepare for The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Bee, which we will hold in Middle Tennessee on September 23,” she adds.
“Students will compete at that event to win first, second, and third place honors at each grade level. So each grade – 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th – will have a champion. In addition, the grade level champions will compete to become The Overall Champion of The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Bee. The winner and overall champion, along with a parent, will win a grand prize of a trip to Washington, D.C.,” Botteri says.
“About a dozen Tennesseans with experience in education, law, history, and politics have volunteered to write the articles in this Constitution Series for us. Some will be writing just one article, others will write several,” she notes.
Engagement of students, parents, teachers, and the community at large is a key theme of the Constitution Series and The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Bee, Botteri adds.
Students can sign up to participate in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Bee here. Botteri points out that with multiple levels of competition and prizes, The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Bee provides every student who signs up an opportunity to win the kind of recognition that will help with their college applications.
“Parents who are regular readers of The Star can play a key role in getting the word out, by sharing the articles in the Constitution Series with their children who attend secondary schools as well as secondary school teachers,” Botteri says.
“And if you are a history buff and want to write or suggest an addition to the Constitution Series, we want to hear from you,” Botteri says.
Claudia Henneberry, author of the first article, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” will be one of the more prolific authors in the series. She taught Social Studies and English in North Carolina for many years, then retired to be a stay-at-home mom who raised her two daughters.
Since her retirement as a teacher, she has substitute-taught and been involved in reviewing textbooks. She testified in Tennessee before the Textbook Commission and the State Senate Education Committee on inaccuracies, biases and omissions in the social studies texts.
Claudia also started a “Ladies for Liberty” group with a neighbor to encourage women to learn about the Constitution, and organized several summers of Camp Constitution held in Brentwood, Tennessee.
“What an exciting opportunity we have to engage a new generation of students in understanding the miraculous founding of our Republic and what they must do to keep it. The best of luck to all of you future leaders who decide to join the fun of The Tennessee Star’s first Constitution Bee! ” Henneberry tells The Star.
Each week in the series will have a separate sponsor. The Red River Republican Women, which is based in Montgomery County, is sponsoring the first week.
“Just as the framers of the Constitution understood ‘the people were expected to be educated, informed, and engaged in order to elect proper civil servants,’ we Red River Republican Women understand the urgency of this maxim,” Cathy Kolb of the Red River Republican Women Club tells The Star.
“We must continue to educate our children on the principles of the ‘rule of law’ system and why it has enabled America to become the exceptional nation that it is today. Knowledge is power and studying the Constitution will allow us as a nation to continue to enjoy our freedom….our liberty,” she says.
“Without it, in the words of John Adams, ‘Liberty once lost, is lost forever’,” Kolb adds.
The idea of a Constitution Series for secondary school students has been on the minds of the founders of The Tennessee Star for some time, managing editor Botteri says.
“Those of us who write for The Star, those of us who read it, we’re all bound by one central idea: that it is critically important to preserve and protect the American republic while we still have a chance,” Botteri adds.
“The other thing that is just stunning and alarming to us is how little students are currently being taught about the Constitution and the founding principles of America,” she notes.
“We believe strongly that our Constitution Series will help students embrace the idea of what it means to be an American citizen, and inspire them to undertake their vital roles as good citizens to preserve and protect the American republic throughout their lives, and continue on in that duty when our generation has left the scene,” Botteri concludes.