Constitution Week Kicks Off with Nationwide ‘Preamble Challenge’ and Constitution Bee in Tennessee

By Tennessee Star Staff  

The country began its week-long celebration of the 230th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 with a nationwide “Preamble Challenge”issued to secondary and elementary school students by the Civics Renewal Network on Monday.

At least two schools in Tennessee are participating in the Preamble Challenge.

“We plan to read ‘Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution’ and complete a Preamble Scramble and a Constitution Scavenger Hunt to learn what the Constitution says, what it means, and its importance. On Constitution Day, we will gather around our flag pole for a dramatic reading of the Constitution,” a participating teacher at Copper Basin Elementary School in Copperhill, Tennessee says.

Camp Creek Elementary school in Greeneville, Tennessee is also participating.

Constitution Week wraps up on Saturday in Pleasant View, Tennessee, when secondary school students from around the state gather at Sycamore High School to participate in what appears to be the first-ever Constitution Bee in the country.

The winner of The Polk Foundation’s Tennessee Star Constitution Bee will receive a round trip flight to Washington, D.C. along with a parent. Among other scheduled events in the nation’s Capitol, the winner and a parent will attend a speech delivered by Federal Judge Thomas Griffith, a member of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, scheduled to be held at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center on October 12.

Any secondary school student in the state, whether in a public school, private school, or home schooled, can sign up here to participate in The Polk Foundation’s Tennessee Star Constitution Bee for a chance to win the competition and receive the free trip to Washington, D.C. Secondary students from 8th grade to 12th grade are automatically eligible to participate, and any 7th grader who applies for special permission to compete will be granted that permission.

The Polk Foundation’s Tennessee Star Constitution Bee will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 23 and will continue until about noon, when a winner is selected. The event is hosted by Cheatham County Schools at Sycamore High School in Pleasant View, because classes at two schools in the system – Sycamore Middle School and Harpeth High School in Kingston Springs – signed up in July to participate in the pilot project that features Tennessee Star’s Guide to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students as a supplementary book available for use in the classroom. The third school that signed up in July to participate in the the pilot project is Stewart County High School.

In this initial Constitution Bee, questions will be limited to the Constitution and the first ten amendments included in the Bill of Rights, as covered by the pilot project book.

Subsequent to the announcement of the initial pilot project in three schools, other schools in the state, including Sycamore High School, have asked for and received the pilot project edition of the book.

The Constitution Bee competition will begin on Saturday with the Preamble Round, where contestant will have a 60 second opportunity to recite the Preamble to the Constitution via whatever means they choose – song, musical presentation, dramatic reading, or simple recitation – and prizes will be awarded in the following category during the end of event awards:

Most Creative Preamble
Most Persuasive Preamble
Most Entertaining Preamble

“Great minds think alike,” managing editor of The Tennessee Star Christina Botteri said.

“We decided to begin The Polk Foundation’s Tennessee Star Constitution Bee with the Preamble Round before we knew about the Civic Renewal Network’s Preamble Challenge, and we are delighted to know that students around the country will be using the same learning approach as our event at Sycamore High School on Saturday,” she added.

The Preamble Round will be followed by the Elimination Round, in which contestants will be asked questions of fact organized by three levels of difficulty – easy, moderate, and difficult – and the field will be narrowed to the top six.

The final Championship round will begin by narrowing the field of six to three based on the contestants three minute oral responses to essay questions at the very difficult level.

The first place, second place, and third place winner will then be determined by the contestants answers to questions of fact asked at the very-very difficult level.

At the end of the competition, all contestants will receive a certificate of participation. Awards will be presented for the three categories of the preamble round, as well as the overall first place grand prize winner, second place winner, and third place winner.

“This is a great extra-curricular event in which secondary school students can participate to help build their college admissions record,” Botteri said.

The final list of judges for the event will be announced on Tuesday.

An updated pilot project edition book which includes all 27 amendments, Tennessee Star’s Guide to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all the Amendments for Secondary School Students will be published in November and will be available for use in pilot project classrooms on request as a study guide for the Spring 2018 Semester Polk Foundation’s Tennessee Star Constitution Bee, which is tentatively scheduled to be held in Williamson County next April.

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