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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Missouri seeks competitors for 2014 'Constitution Project'

  • The Supreme Court of Missouri’s Committee on Civic Education is seeking applicants for The Constitution Project, a statewide competition for high school students that will be held during the fall 2014 semester and will culminate with championship rounds in Jefferson City.
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  • The Supreme Court of Missouri’s Committee on Civic Education is seeking applicants for The Constitution Project, a statewide competition for high school students that will be held during the fall 2014 semester and will culminate with championship rounds in Jefferson City.
    The Constitution Project gives students a mock crime scene to investigate, report about and eventually try in a mock trial, all under the mentorship of local professionals in the fields of crime scene investigation, journalism and trial advocacy. Started two years ago at Houston (Missouri) High School by Texas County Associate Circuit Judge Doug Gaston, the competition expanded last year to more than 70 students from eight schools in four regions participating in The Constitution Project’s inaugural year as a statewide competition.
    “The Constitution Project gives high school students exciting, hands-on experience in possible future careers that are integral to our constitution and our nation’s system of justice,” Gaston said. “It is a fun and meaningful experience not only for the students but also for the professionals who help guide the teams from the local level right up through the state finals.”
    Competitors are chosen based on merit and their interest in the three disciplines. To be chosen, each community must pledge commitments from the school, local judges, law enforcement, media and attorneys.
    “I was struck by not only the remarkable efforts of all the competitors at the statewide championships last year but also their infectious enthusiasm,” said Supreme Court Judge Patricia Breckenridge, chair of the Court’s civic education committee. “It was wonderful to see the students so totally immersed in learning about the importance of the constitution in their lives. By putting these important constitutional lessons into action and seeing the impact the constitution has on our daily lives, these students are gaining so much valuable experience from The Constitution Project.”
    Winners are named at the team and individual level for each discipline, and the individual award winners receive $1,000 scholarships from sponsoring organizations. Statewide cosponsors of the project include the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Sheriff’s Association, Missouri Police Chiefs Association, Missouri Press Association, Missouri Broadcasters Association and The Missouri Bar.
    Dixon High School participated in The Constitution Project in 2013 with the assistance from Pulaski County Associate Circuit Judge Ronda L. Cortesini, and local law enforcement, attorneys, and media. "The students really enjoyed the project and learned from the great mentors who helped," Cortesini says. "I look forward to working with the mentors again to give the students hands-on education in the Constitution and encourage our Pulaski County schools to apply to participate."
    To learn more about The Constitution Project – and to fill out the online application – please visit www.courts.mo.gov/constitutionproject. Preference will be given to applications received no later than May 16, 2014.
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