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Elementary students celebrate Constitution Day

Sep. 18, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

BARBOURSVILLE -- Students at Martha Elementary School were full of patriotic spirit Wednesday as the school celebrated Constitution Day.

Students wore red, white and blue outfits or dressed as a historical character who was either part of the forming of the Constitution or played a significant role in the country's history. That led to black beards and tall hats for Abraham Lincoln look-alikes, bifocals and a kite for Ben Franklin and long dresses for Betsy Ross.

Celebrating Constitution Day, which was officially Sept. 17, is something the state legislature mandated a few years ago to be put into the curriculum. But the age group really determines how teachers put lessons together.

In Tammy Ballengee's kindergarten class, she reminded the students about the class rules document that hangs on the wall. There are seven rules that students helped craft at the beginning of the year. Then they all signed it.

That's what happened more than 230 years ago, she told her students Wednesday, when the country was being formed and a democracy was being adopted.

In the upper grades, students not only memorized the Preamble to the Constitution but also rewrote it based on modern language, said fourth-grade teacher Jeanne Wray.

"We try to bring it to life as much as possible," said Wray, who also serves as a re-enactor with the Guyandotte Civil War Days. "To take the words and bring them to life ... this document that still guides our country today."

The day was supposed to include a parade around the track, but rain moved that inside. But it didn't lack the luster, as patriotic music played and students marched through the hallways. The Pre-K students carried little American flags.

"With the little ones, it gives them a big picture of the history and where the nation comes from," Principal Boyd Mynes said. "A lot (of students) have relatives involved in the military, so there is a personal connection."

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