2006-01-18 / Front Page

Massive missive:

Hillcrest students draft constitution
By Dee Dellenbach Staff writer

High ideals Hillcrest Elementary School students know what their rights are, and they’ve written them into the Hillcrest Constitution. The giant-sized document hangs in the cafeteria and reminds kids not to bully and to play safely. Comet photo High ideals Hillcrest Elementary School students know what their rights are, and they’ve written them into the Hillcrest Constitution. The giant-sized document hangs in the cafeteria and reminds kids not to bully and to play safely. Comet photo An enormous document hangs on the cafeteria wall; created, written, ratified and signed by Hillcrest Elementary School students.

Principal Bill Shidler thought his students should understand what the Constitution of the United States is all about. He started by asking students what they thought their rights were.

By the time they were finished, the students had decided on five articles that were most important to them: no bullying (with an exclamation mark), be kind to people of all races, play safely on the playground, respect the privacy of others, and use indoor voices or whisper when appropriate.

The first few lines of the Hillcrest Constitution begin: “We the people of Hillcrest Elementary in order to have a better school, help our friends, and make the world a better place, agree to and will abide by the following rules.”

Art teacher Sherri Cripe said that she lettered the phrase “We The People” in the same font as the Constitution of the United States. She lettered the entire document on brown butcher paper and let the kids color in the letters.

Cripe said part of the goal of the project was to teach kids the process involved in creating a constitution, and how the leaders of that day gathered to discuss the rights of American citizens.

To lend an extra bit of authenticity to the project, Cripe gently burned the edges of the paper, using a damp paper towel to smother the flame. But a student, who thought he was being helpful, took the paper towel and threw it away. Cripe said the document nearly burned, but she was able to douse it with water.

When the project was finished and hung on the wall, Cripe said the fifth-graders in the cafeteria were awed and sighed a collective, “Wow!”

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