Education column: Students celebrate constitution

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy

Last week we observed “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” designated, according to the Library of Congress, as the day to commemorate the signing of the Constitution and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”

Although I know all of our schools throughout the district had related activities and lessons, I happened to be at Lockwood Elementary during their Constitution Day assembly. Squeezing in next to parents and grandparents, I was delighted to see and participate in the impressive performances put on by these elementary students.

Opening with the Presentation of Colors by Clovis High School JROTC students, the teens also shared examples of the historic U.S. flags they’d brought along. After Lockwood Principal Adan Estrada’s welcome, the pledge of allegiance as well as the New Mexico salute were recited in both English and Spanish, as Lockwood is one of our bilingual schools.

Each grade level presented their own part of the celebration: Fourth grade shared the story of the Star-Spangled Banner and what the words of the pledge “mean to me.”

The second grade presented the preamble and the significance of the words from a “kid’s perspective.” A light stick show with waving U.S. flags and choreographed to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” was presented by the first graders.

Over-sized symbolic props were used by third graders to explain how the Constitution was written, and after the sixth grade skit about the writing of the preamble, they very creatively shared the actual preamble in sign language.

After the adorable kindergartners marched around the gym waving their little American flags aloft to the accompaniment of “It’s a Grand Old Flag,” the fifth grade injected a creative element of high tech with their digital presentation about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The whole assembly had me humming patriotic songs on my way to the next destination.

Not everyone is aware that the Lincoln-Jackson Family Center now houses eight classrooms of pre-kindergarten students, and there is a waiting list. According to Principal/Coordinator Cynthia Flores-Gonzales, her certified teachers have been reading books about America and learning about important associated symbols in the days prior to their Constitution Day Parade.

As these little cuties marched through the school corridors, they wore and played their “Constitution Day” creations, most assuredly a sight to behold. The parade culminated in the gym where all – students, staff and parents – joined in the pledge as Julie Dvorak, senior airman from Cannon Air Force Base, held the flag. Their celebration finished in a rousing medley of patriotic songs.

George Washington is quoted as saying, “the Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.” I like to think he would be pleased to know our students are carrying on the tradition.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at cindy.kleyn-kennedy@clovis-schools.org.