Merion Students Win Top Prize in Constitutional Essay Contest
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By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today was the presentation phase for the finalists in a citizenship essay contest which was open to Philadelphia-area fourth and fifth graders.
Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and federal judge Midge Rendell created the newly formed Rendell Center to promote civics education and citizenship engagement.
The center’s first project — a “Citizenship Challenge” essay contest for area fourth and fifth graders – asked whether the Constitutional requirement that the US president must be a “natural born” citizen should remain or go.
Today, at the National Constitution Center, Ed Rendell urged all of the finalists to remain engaged in the political process.
“For all of you young people, remember this experience as you grow up. Get your friends and your colleagues in to participating in the government, read about it, learn about it,” he said. “And whatever you do, remember to vote in every election. So, become good voters, and I hope some day we will have the chance to vote for some of you.“
There were more than 100 submissions, and the top ten classrooms were invited to present their essays, creating a mock newscast video.
The students at Merion Elementary School were the winners of the $1,000 top prize.
“I think it thought me a lot about the Constitution,” said fifth grader Ava Clifford, “and I want to learn more about the Constitution now than I did before.”