Posted on Mar 12, 2022
Sometimes events transpire in such a way as to almost preordain an outcome.  Such was the case with our newest undertaking for the benefit of our community.

On 31 January 2022, DG Shelby Rhodes visited the SNP Rotary.  She made a short presentation regarding the District and then held an open Q & A session.  Many things were discussed but one mention of a recent project undertaken by the Naples, FL Rotary resonated with several of us.  Naples, concerned about the growing ignorance of young Americans regarding civics, began distributing copies of the Constitution to school children in the City.  Many of us have commented on this topic and lamented that civics was no longer even being taught in NJ schools.  However, NJ lawmakers apparently were also reflecting on the same thing.  Then, in the wake of the 6 January 2021 insurrection, an obvious demonstration of Americans’ lack of civics awareness, the NJ Legislature passed S854 which makes civics instruction mandatory at the middle school level.  At our next Board meeting on 7 February 2022, it was proposed that we explore setting up  a “Constitution Project”.  There was unanimous approval.

We have partnered with the local schools for two decades to enhance elementary school students’ learning through our Dictionary Project where every third-grader in both Summit and New Providence receive a specially designed dictionary.  The teachers love the program for its instructional value and the kids simply love their dictionaries.  It was an easy jump to propose to both school superintendents a “Constitution Project” as a second effort at enhancing the curriculum, especially now that civics was mandated in the middle schools.  Both superintendents (both of whom are Rotarians) fully supported the program.
We immediately contacted Naples.  They had already partnered with Children’s Literary Publications to create and print a booklet which contained the Declaration of Independence, the full Constitution as well as some other teaching exercises, notable quotes and important dates and related facts.  We ordered 600 copies.  The were delivered five days later and subsequently distributed to the schools and the students.  This will now be an annual project.

Just another reason to be proud to be a Rotarian!