The 2014 Constitution Project Officially Kicks Off in Jefferson City
Nearly 200 students of 12 schools selected from across the state gathered at the state capitol September 17, 2014, also known as Constitution Day, for kickoff festivities for the 2014 Constitution Project.
The students cheered from their seats in the House of Representatives chamber as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri Mary Russell slammed the gavel from the dais and officially declared the project begun.
“The Constitution is a great gift that has been given to you,” Judge Russell reminded the students. “We are so proud of you for your commitment to our Constitution and to our nation.”
Cardinal-Ritter College Preparatory High School in St. Louis, Clayton High School in Clayton, Park Hills Central High School in Park Hills; Washington High School in Washington; Dixon High School in Dixon, Father Tolton Regional Catholic High School in Columbia, Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City; St. James High School in St. James; Houston High School in Houston, Logan-Rogersville High School in Rogersville, Nixa High School in Nixa and West Plains High School in West Plains were selected as the competitors in this years’ project. The students with assistance from organizations such as the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Sheriff’s Association, Missouri Police Chiefs Association, Missouri Press Association, Missouri Broadcasters Association and The Missouri Bar will compete in projects related to the disciplines of journalism, crime scene investigation, trial advocacy and multi-media. Regional competitions will take place at the end of October, and the state championship held in Jefferson City in November will determine the overall winning team as well as the individual winners.
The day began with a mock arrest and trial, followed by breakout work sessions for the students and ended with debates regarding the electronic communications amendment to the Missouri Constitution on the floor of the house. The students then heard remarks from Chief Justice Russell, Supreme Court Judge Patricia Breckenridge, Senator Mike Kehoe and Vietnam Veteran Don Hentges. Hentges talked to the students about his own service, and that of his best friend who lost his life in an explosion.
“You owe it to him, and to every soldier who has fought and died, to become all you are capable of in your lives,” Hentges told the students. Many of the students were touched by the talk and wiped tears away from their eyes.
The presentations concluded with the Lincoln University choir performing The Star Spangled Banner at the front of the chamber. Judge Breckenridge felt the day was a great success.
“We were all so impressed with the talents and the enthusiasm of these students. It is not difficult at all to see future presidents, television news anchors, sheriffs, FBI agents, and future judges amongst this group of students. We are excited to see not only how they compete in the Constitution Project, but also everything they accomplish in their lives,” said Breckenridge.
Contact Person: Beth Riggert, Communications Counsel
Supreme Court of Missouri
Phone: (573) 751-0418