2009-09-24 / Front Page

Pa.'s First Lady Visits C. Fulton

Students get Constitution Day lesson
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Pennsylvania's first lady made a guest appearance at Mc- Connellsburg Elementary and eight additional school districts via a video conferencing session last Thursday.

With the U.S. Constitutional Convention convening and signing the Constitution on September 17, 1787, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell led students, including a group of civic-minded fifthgrade students from Mc- Connellsburg Elementary, through an in-depth Constitution Day lesson.

"Civics education is about more than just memorizing facts about the American system of government; it's about building a deep understanding of the beliefs that structure our society and encouraging civic engagement," said Judge Rendell, who presides in the U.S. Third District Court of Appeals. "The les- son was an excellent opportunity to discuss the judicial system, its core principles and its impact on all of our lives."

According to elementary Principal Alicia Mellott, topics reviewed with her 30 students, who required parental permission prior to their giving up special time and recess for the session, were laws versus rules as well as laws and rules as they pertain to the Constitution. Pennsylvania Bar Association President President Clifford Haines was also on hand to share in the presentation that reviewed how judges and attorneys use the rule of the law to protect both society and the individual.

Mirroring both Judge Rendell's and the students' enthusiasm, Mellott went on to note it was a "good experience" for her students, who were "very attentive" throughout the 45-minute lesson.

Mellott stated children were granted the opportunity to voice their concerns on topics pertaining to "school-related" rules. In a question-andanswer session opened to children in all nine school districts, McConnellsburg fifth-grader Gage Mellott introduced Judge Rendell to the school and provided background on the area before "trying to stump the first lady" with his question. Meanwhile, fellow student Matthew Huston had the opportunity to go into detail with the judge on "school rule" questions.

Other schools given the option of interacting with their guest teacher were School District of Philadelphia; East Stroudsburg School District: Owen J. Roberts School District; Dover School District; Penncrest School District; McGuffey School District; Huntingdon Area School District; and Forest Hills School District. Any schools receiving federal funding are required to provide educational programming related to the history of the American Constitution.

Any students, administrators, teachers or residents wishing to follow Judge Rendell on civics education tour of the state can follow along on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CivicsFirst.

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