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Students in Forsyth County observe Constitution Day
Debbie Sarver, principal of Lakeside Middle, takes a selfie with the school's entire study body in the background. The students had formed the state of Georgia for Constitution Day. - photo by Micah Green

EAST FORSYTH — Students throughout Lakeside Middle School were decked out in red, white and blue Thursday to celebrate Constitution Day, an event the school has marked every year since it opened in 2010.

The day involved every student in the school, from classroom lessons to the entire student body forming the state of Georgia for a picture on the football field.

“By state law, we are required to study the Constitution on this day,” said Monya Galaif, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Lakeside. “They get into it. You’d be surprised how much they find interesting about the videos.”

The school system provided materials for the day, including a video of the U.S. National Archives that reviews documents like letters to the president or an actual sleepover held for middle school students in the rotunda.

Those two parts were the students’ favorite, Galaif said.

Social studies and literature classes all featured lessons related to Constitution Day, she said, though programs varied as each teacher was allowed to develop his or her own lesson plan.

One sixth-grade teacher showed pictures of previous days at Lakeside, where the school formed a peace sign or a heart, all while wearing the colors of the flag.

One picture showed the student body in the numbers 1776, prompting the teacher to ask if anyone knew what that number signified before playing School House Rock.

The front door to the school boasted a banner painted by seventh-graders Tanvi Reddy and Taylor Reeves.

Reddy said she like the colors on the banner and working together with her friend to make the decoration.

Middle Schools were not the only students to get involved in Constitution Day.

Throughout the week, every fourth-grader in Georgia — more than 120,000 students — received a personal copy of the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents by the Georgia Department of Education.

All funding for the project was donated, according to the state. No taxpayer funds were used to purchase or distribute the pocket Constitutions, which also included the Declaration of Independence, lyrics to the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.

In a statement, State School Superintendent Richard Woods said the Constitutions were provided as a “gift for our students” and “a resource for educators.”

“The Constitution is the bedrock of our beliefs and values as a country – this document that begins, so appropriately, ‘we the people’ and not ‘we the government,’” he said.

“Knowing that more than 120,000 fourth-graders can now carry those words with them, literally and figuratively, is a great thing.”

The documents were bought and distributed using funds donated by the American Legion – Department of Georgia, ITTI Global Inc., General Building Maintenance, the Georgia Council on Economics Education, the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and anonymous donors.

Members of the American Legion Post 307 recently visited Midway Elementary School to hand out the copies to students and discuss the importance of the document.

“We recognized the importance of our funding the pocket Constitutions for all 3,500 fourth-graders in Forsyth County’s public schools,” said Ron Meier, American Legion Post 307 Constitution Oratorical chair.

“Our post and American Legion posts all across the country conduct a high school oratorical contest based on the Constitution each year to encourage students nearing voting age to become more informed voters and more knowledgeable future government leaders.

“We’d like to help all our Forsyth County students understand more fully their rights, responsibilities and duties as citizens as they move ever close to becoming registered voters.”