SOUTH FORSYTH -- The United States constitution may be a piece of paper, but the effects of its words came to life and rang through the halls of South Forsyth Middle School Friday.
Students and teachers celebrated Constitution Day at the school on Windermere Parkway by learning about the document and what it means to Americans and even learned about what it was like to live in colonial America.
“It’s a day that’s devoted to the constitution, and in each of our social studies classes we focus on … how fortunate we are to have a living document that is the oldest living document that runs a government, so we celebrate that and make sure that we are focusing on that in our curriculums,” said Kerry Hartshorn, an eighth grade teacher at South.
Constitution Day is celebrated throughout the district as part of a state mandate.
“As a social studies teacher, as the child of a military family, and as a proud citizen of the United States, it’s my strong belief that we should give our students ample opportunities to learn about the Constitution – the bedrock of our beliefs and values as a nation,” State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods said in an op-ed about the day.
He said that understanding the nation’s founding documents “gives students the foundation they need to become active participants in the civic life of their community, state and nation.”
At South on Friday, sixth graders completed scavenger hunts in their classes, seventh graders sat through a digital web class and eighth graders heard guest speakers.
Members of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution came dressed in period uniforms and showed classes items from colonial America “and what ultimately led to America breaking away from England and then having the constitution created,” Hartshorn said.
Students learned that women used to only shower every couple months, how a feather was turned into a pen and how people lived without electricity.
A male and female student each tried on hats from the era and learned about each item’s practicality and reasoning.
The school atrium featured a walking gallery of the Bill of Rights on tables on which students could write comments or ideas.
Hannah Miller’s sixth grade class learned about the forms of government and watched a video on the constitution.
In Katie Cosgrove’s seventh grade class, students studied the Bill of Rights and “what your rights are and what to do.”
Cosgrove said they asked plenty of questions.
“They wanted to know what happens when this happens, like when the president dies. Situational things,” she said.
“To be part of a wonderful country and to have it move forward, we need to have people who understand how it works and what our foundations are what our roles are,” Hartshorn said. “In my eighth grade class, we’re going a big government unit, like what it means to be a citizen and what our responsibilities are.”