Justices help students celebrate Constitution Day


Students visiting the Hall of Justice on September 19, 2022, getting a chance to sign their own copy of the Constitution while learning about how it was ratified in 1787.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) Justices Elizabeth T. Clement and Elizabeth M. Welch welcomed students from school districts across Michigan—virtually and in person—to educational events designed to celebrate Constitution Day, which is observed on or around September 17 annually. Coordinated by the MSC Learning Center, the events included instruction about the United States Constitution through a Zoom webinar, Michigan Hall of Justice building tours, and separate question and answer sessions with the justices.

Clement is the MSC liaison to the Michigan Judicial Institute, which operates the Learning Center. She said, “Constitution Day unites us by reminding us of our founding principles and how we all must work together to achieve a shared vision of justice for all.”

At the Hall of Justice in Lansing on September 19, 5th graders from Perry Innovation Center in Grand Blanc took a tour that led them back to September 17, 1787, by reenacting the debates at Independence Hall- during the Constitutional Convention. Next, they entered the Learning Center to sign their own copy of the Constitution. The tour ended with a Q&A with Clement in the Michigan Supreme Court courtroom.

In debriefing the delegates’ debates, many said they would sign the charter of our nation's government. However, one student stood out by saying, “I would not sign the Constitution without the Bill of Rights.” In addition, students wanted to know: “Would the Preamble ever need updating?” and “what kind of material was the Constitution written on?”

On Friday, September 16, students and teachers from 8 school districts participated in the Learning Center’s Zoom webinar. The students recited the 52 words of the Preamble aloud, followed by a Q&A session with Welch.

“As a nation, we strive for a better union. It is an ongoing process. We have to believe in these goals to make those goals a reality, and that can only happen with ‘We the People,’” Welch told the students. “It is we, the people, who form the collective “We the People,” and we help democracy through all the different means we have available to us.”

The Learning Center thanks the teachers and students from the following schools for their participation in Constitution Day 2022:

• Beekman Center – Lansing

• Corpus Christi Catholic School – Holland

• Dimondale Elementary School – Dimondale

• Holt Junior High School – Holt

• Moorish Science Temple of America #13 – Pontiac

• Robinson Elementary School – Grand Haven

• Rogers Elementary School – Berkley

• Matthew Lutheran School – Westland

Constitution Day is a federal observance designed to commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Federal law requires that all schools receiving federal funds hold an educational program for their students on or near September 17 of each year. To find more Constitution Day information, visit www.courts.michigan.gov/events/2021/september/constitution-day.

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