GALLIA COUNTY — Gallia County Local Schools high school students gathered with area elementary schools to teach their younger peers about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the basic forms of American government.
Students from South Gallia’s Dafney Davis’ accelerated government class visited students at nearby Hannan Trace Elementary in Mercerville, Wednesday of last week, and students from River Valley High School’s Brea McClung’s accelerated government class visited students at Addaville, Vinton and Southwestern Elementary Schools the following Thursday.
“Constitution Day was originally started back in 1911 when schools in Iowa began to celebrate the day,” said South Gallia student Austin Day,” and then in 1917, Sons of the American Revolution, who had several prominent members, formed a committee to (promote) the holiday to make it more widespread. Then, it really comes back to Ohio. The first state to recognize Constitution Day was Ohio because Olga T. Weber, of Louisville, Ohio, she wanted her city and her state to recognize Constitution Day as a holiday. She petitioned her municipal officials and they accepted it and it moved onto the state level where Gov. Frank J. Lausche, in 1953, signed a law into enactment. Eventually, four years later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower allowed it to become a holiday nationwide in 1957. It’s final form came about in 2004 and that’s how it began.”
Constitution Day is a federal observance which recognizes the adoption of the US constitution and its citizens. It is typically observed on Sept. 17. South Gallia students led Hannan Trace Elementary students though a rap about the forms of government and Constitution articles while River Valley High School students led various groups of students through individual stations geared towards specific article lessons.
“This happened to me when I was a kid,” said River Valley High School student Tyler Hess. “I remember this day. These kids come in and learn about Congress and the House of Representatives and the Senate. They don’t get to really do a lot of that when they’re young. This is what they get, so I’m trying to help…So, one (elementary student) had (previously said) that they had heard of (the late Senator) John McCain. So, it might be possible they never learn of him again because he has passed away. There’s no more to learn about him unless they get caught in the safety net at high school of government class. These are the only tastes they’ll get unless they go into a history major…I want them to learn and specifically about this man because he had values.”
“I almost see this as kind of leaving a legacy,” said RVHS student Joseph Hubman. “I remember being here for fourth and fifth grade and yet throughout middle school they never taught this. I feel like it’s a good idea to try and continue that legacy because I feel more and more people are becoming ignorant of what their government does. You could run into a normal person on the street who can’t tell you what the Bill of Rights does or how parts of the Constitution work.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.