Wheeling Jesuit University

Schoolchildren, General Public Invited to Commemorate the Signing of the U.S. Constitution

Wheeling Jesuit University is proud to invite Ohio Valley residents and schoolchildren to its campus Sept. 15 to enjoy a fun-filled day of learning about the U.S. Constitution.

“Constitution & Citizenship Day” celebrates the anniversary of the Constitution’s signing on Sept. 17, 1787. Activities will be held at the Alma Grace McDonough Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Wheeling Jesuit University is proud to be host of this unique event that commemorates an extraordinary day in our country’s history,” says the Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., Wheeling Jesuit president. “We have a variety of events planned for children and adults alike, including presentations by the former historian of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Ray Smock, and other well-known speakers. The purpose is to make us all remember and appreciate even more the document that has guided us for more than 200 years.”

The morning activities will kick off at 10 a.m. at the NTTC Auditorium, where keynote speaker Stan Klos, renowned historian and author, will share his impressive historical documents exhibit with the audience as part of his presentation “President Who? The Forgotten Constitution.” Gerry Reilly, executive director of West Virginia Independence Hall, will follow with an interesting presentation on the constitutionality of
the West Virginia statehood process.

Wrapping up the morning activities is a scholars panel discussion led by Patrick Cassidy, Esq., of Cassidy, Myers, Cogan & Voegelin, L.C., on ways to re-engage America’s youth in the study of American history.

From noon to 3 p.m., several activities will take place at the CET’s Discovery Room:
· “America Reads the Constitution.”
· Sign a virtual Constitution. This is part of the National Constitution Center’s “I Signed the Constitution” events held nationwide that encourage Americans to affirm their rights and responsibilities as citizens to learn more about the Constitution.
· Local artisans and award-winning living historian Jim Rubin, who will portray President Lincoln, will entertain children.
· Smock, current director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University, will present “Real American Idols: The Making of Signers’ Hall.” He will discuss the creation of the National Constitution Center’s Signers’ Hall exhibit, which features life-size bronze statues of many of the framers of the Constitution.
· Fr. Brian O’Donnell, S.J., Ph.D., research director for Wheeling Jesuit’s Appalachian Institute, will present “18th Century Appalachia and the Constitution: The Attempted State of Franklin and Article IV.”

Afternoon activities will all be available via webcast at www.cet.edu/ntv/cda.ram beginning at 11:45 a.m. for schools across the nation to enjoy.

Children attending the event will receive a free Constitution Day wristband. Complimentary hot dogs and beverages will be available to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wheeling Jesuit’s Constitution Day activities revolve around Foundations of Freedom™, a multimedia DVD-ROM program released last spring to more than 25,000 high schools across the country.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd envisioned using technology to revitalize the way constitutional history is taught in American high schools, and through a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the CET helped make his vision a reality.

“We are grateful to Sen. Byrd for the opportunity to not only create a DVD program that gives students a comprehensive overview of how the Constitution was created, but also to see Foundations of Freedom play such an important role in this event,” says Hacala.

Foundations of Freedom teaches constitutional history in an interesting, interactive format. Copies of the computer program will be on sale at the Constitution Day event.

“In an effort to meet Sen. Byrd’s goal of restoring history to its rightful place in American schools, Foundations of Freedom takes students and adults alike on a journey that pauses at critical points in U.S. history to explore the bedrock principles of American constitutionalism. The DVD emphasizes the vital structural principles embodied in the first seven articles of the Constitution, which distinguishes itself from similar products,” says J. Davitt McAteer, vice president for sponsored programs at Wheeling Jesuit. “I am excited about the role Wheeling Jesuit University is playing in this initiative.”

This event is being presented by Wheeling Jesuit University with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information or to schedule a field trip to Wheeling Jesuit’s Constitution Day, please call (304) 243-4313. All area schools, elementary through high school, are encouraged to attend.

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