Classes celebrate Constitution Day

Four speakers commemorate nation’s founding document


Ray Sup

Court of Appeals Judge Mr. Paul Mathais speaks to economics students and We the People team members during flex on Sept. 18.

Catherine Jasper, Co-editor in chief

For most Americans, July 4 is the day designated for celebrating independence. But for Ms. Jill Baisinger, social studies teacher and We The People co-moderator, Sept. 17 is just as important.

“In 2005, Congress passed a law designating Sept. 17 as National Constitution Day to commemorate the signing of the United States Constitution by the 55 delegates,” Baisinger said.

Besides holding a birthday party with the We The People team on Sunday, Baisinger helped acknowledge the signing of the Constitution by inviting four individuals involved in the law making process to speak during flex on Sept. 18.

“Any school, pre-K through college, who receives any kind of federal money has to put on some kind of educational program about the Constitution the week before or the week after Constitution Day. For the last eight years, we have brought in speakers or done some sort of educational program to commemorate (this) day,” she said.

Court of Appeals Judge Mr. Paul Mathais, Marion County Superiror Court Judge Mrs. Heather Welch, Marion County Magistrate Mr. John Christ and Clerk of the Indiana Commercial Court Mr. Peter Elliott ’08 all spoke during flex.

Baisinger said, “The Indiana Judges Association puts together a program to get judges in the classroom throughout the year, and (Constitution Day) is the major event they use to get judges into schools. Judge Welch and I have worked together for the last four years to put the program on. She is a longtime supporter of (the school) and also helps me with We The People.”

To Baisinger, Constitution Day is extremely important because “the Constitution has endured for 230 years. It is the longest living national consstitution that exists. There has got to be something about the way it was written that has allowed for that to take place. Other countries have had to write constitutions over and over and over again, and we haven’t had to. I think that’s special,” she said.

The day provides a chance to increase one’s knowledge of civic education, something Baisinger greatly appreciates. From educating the bakers in the grocery store where she purchased a cake reading “Happy 230th Birthday” to decorating her classroom with balloons and handing out cupcakes, all of the celebration is an effort to increase the level of understanding Americans have of this document.

“If more people would spend just one day a year learning more about what that document says, we would have a better chance of holding our government accountable for their actions. The only way our democratic Republic can work is if we understand what that document says because it links us, the people, to the government.

“When (students) are of age, they have the power to change the political system. I’m talking about voting, running for office, being politically active. If kids would do that or know that they can and how important it is, our future would be bright,” Baisinger said.

Baisinger said, “The Constitution was written 230 years ago, but it is not dead. It doesn’t matter how you interpret it, it’s the basis of our country. It’s the foundation.”