Constitution Week is coming up soon, and the 917 Society is prepared to get the word out about why it is so important.
The group is making available a free program and pocket constitutions to all Tennessee eighth-grade social studies teachers to mark Constitution Day Sept. 17 and Constitution Week, which falls around that date. The U.S. Constitution is an area of focus in the eighth-grade curriculum.
The program consists of a short documentary film narrated by Nick Clooney and a variety of other free resources, including The Tennessee Star Constitution Series.
Joni Bryan, founder of the 917 Society, has worked on the Constitution project for nearly three years. The project is funded with private donations. The group does not receive state or federal funds.
“We want every year for all eighth-grade students to receive their Constitution as a rite of passage into citizenship,” Bryan said.
This September 17 marks the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. The 917 Society’s mission is to reach 4.5 million students nationally, with Tennessee being the first state covered. The goal is to reach almost 90,000 Tennessee eighth-graders annually, including public, private and homeschooled students.
Bryan said the group will create new films and resources in the future to keep up with changes in technology and new ways of learning.
“Every year we’re going to have new things available,” she said. “We have a lot of plans.”
This year’s short documentary featuring Nick Clooney, which is about 15 minutes long, will be available on the group’s website after Sept. 11 for anyone interested in viewing it.
People interested in joining the 917 Society should visit 917society.com. Membership costs $25 annually, with proceeds going to help the group’s educational efforts.
Donations can be made on the group’s website or at givingmatters.guidestar.org.