Constituting America Announces Winners of National ‘We the People 9*17’ Contest

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Northern Exposure’s Janine Turner to present awards to student singer & film director winners at Sep. 15 Constitution Day ceremony in Philadelphia.

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Janine Turner

Constituting America’s mission is to positively affect the youth culture of kids in kindergarten through college, promoting an appreciation and understanding of America’s founding principles, and the contest is a fun and educational way of doing that.

Constituting America will recognize 14 students from across America – including Utah, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Maryland, and Connecticut -- Sep. 15, when the non-profit foundation honors the winners of its national “We the People 9*17 Contest” in a special Constitution Day ceremony in Philadelphia. This unique contest encourages future singers, writers and film makers to produce works about the U.S. Constitution.

To be held at 11 a.m. Saturday September 15 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the program will feature the presentation of awards to the winners of the contest, which gives prizes and scholarships to students from kindergarten through college for creating original songs, short films, public service announcements, speeches, poems, drawings and essays inspired by the U.S. Constitution. High school winners receive a $1,000 prize while college students receive a $2,000 prize.

“We are discovering future singing stars and film directors, and their works are all about the Constitution! I’m especially impressed with this year’s entries as they are from all over America, which is so exciting,” said actress and talk radio host Janine Turner, who founded Constituting America with co-chair Cathy Gillespie, former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Joe Barton and a past commissioner on the President’s Commission on White House Fellows.

“Constituting America’s mission is to positively affect the youth culture of kids in kindergarten through college, promoting an appreciation and understanding of America’s founding principles, and the contest is a fun and educational way of doing that.”

Winners of this year’s contest include:
Elementary School
Best Poem (K-2): Abigail Olschewski, Utah
Best Poem (3-5): Bethany Cooksey, Oregon
Best Artwork: Preity Chavan, Georgia

Middle School
Best Song: Jessie Liz Clement, Tennessee
Best Essay: Evelyn Hanks, North Carolina

High School
Best Song: Annie Nirschel, Connecticut
Best Short Film: Chasity Cagle, Georgia
Best Short Fim: Colton Hinderliter, Georgia
Best PSA: Jacob Schliesman, Wisconsin
Best Essay: Brooke Wade, Georgia

Best Song: Kori Caswell, Missouri
Best Short Film: Kenthia Farmer, Tennessee
Best PSA: Shelby Seymore, Texas
Best Speech: Matthew McNey, Maryland

Contest winners will enjoy a walking tour of historic Philadelphia and Independence Hall accompanied by Turner, Gillespie and Juliette Turner, 14, national youth director for Constituting America and author of the newly released Constitution book for kids, Our Constitution Rocks. They will also attend a welcome dinner with special guest U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), chairman of the Congressional Constitution Caucus. They will then perform and/or display their prize-winning entries in a public ceremony at the National Constitution Center attended by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA).

September 17, 2012, Constitution Day, is the 225th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. Federal law requires all educational institutions receiving federal funds to hold a program on the U.S. Constitution. Constituting America offers educational resources on their website for Constitution Day including a 45-minute “We the People 9*17” documentary and “Analyzing the Constitution” – an annual, 90-day online forum whereby more than two dozen constitutional scholars, historians, authors and legal experts read, analyze and discuss aspects of the Constitution with citizens from across the nation on the foundation website (

The Constituting America website also offers Patriot Clubs, information about the George Washington – We Are All Americans – School Speaking Initiative, and links to complete copies of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and a variety of other educational resources. The National Constitution Center, meanwhile, has also launched a special website aimed at helping educators incorporate Constitution Day into their classroom learning, with numerous resources available at .

The mission of Constituting America is to reach, educate and inform America’s youth and her citizens about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the foundation it sets forth regarding our freedoms and rights, in new and innovative ways. Federal legislation requires educational institutions that receive federal funds to hold educational programs about the Constitution each September 17. Constituting America encourages schools to utilize its short documentary film to fulfill their federal mandate to recognize Constitution Day.

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