For more than a decade, fifth-graders in Pasco County have been competing against one another, putting pen to paper or fingers on a keyboard, answering the question, “Why is the Constitution important?” The contest is in celebration of Constitution Day, September 17th.
The Honorable Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller invites all Pasco County fifth grade students to participate in this year’s contest. A panel of judges will select the winners. “Every year, the Judges marvel at how much thought and reflection these boys and girls put into answering that question,” said Clerk Alvarez-Sowles. “They have such great imaginations and great writing skills.”
Last year, twins from Oakstead Elementary School, Tallyn and Terryn Tervo captured 1st and 2nd place.
Tallyn wrote, “We the people ... the introduction of the United States Constitution... are the three most important words ever written into a governing document. It means that the people have control over how they will be governed. The protection of the “unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as described by the Declaration of Independence is weaved into the U.S Constitution through its system of checks and balances as well as the Bill of Rights. The brilliance of the Constitution lies in its ability to be bent and stretched so that it can apply to today and tomorrow’s world.”
Tallyn’s sister, Terryn also wrote a thought-provoking essay. She highlighted the importance of Freedom of Speech.
Terryn wrote, “The pen is mightier than the sword. This quote has never been more relevant than it is today. Through the power of the internet, ideas and reports can be disseminated in a matter of milliseconds. With this incredible ability to distribute information quickly, many governments are threatened. For example, China restricts its people’s exposure to the internet, limiting what they can access. In North Korea, websites that the government deem too liberal are routinely blocked and the press is often censored. This means that a journalist’s work is banned from being printed or broadcast over the internet.”
It was nearly 236 years ago, on September 17th, 1787, that 39 determined and courageous patriots gathered in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to sign the United States Constitution. Ushering in the phrase that has resounded across generations, “We the People.” The United States Constitution is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government. The Constitution has remained in force for more than two centuries, because of the vision of its framers. They successfully separated and balanced the powers of government to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality, and of the federal and state governments.
First, second and third place winners will receive a certificate and a gift card. The deadline for entries is September 29th. Winners will be announced at an upcoming Pasco County School Board meeting.
Contest rules can be seen here: 2023 Constitution Essay Rules