Know Your Constitution kicking off during Tiger Time at Holmes

Holmes freshmen interested in history have the opportunity to join a Tiger Time club, Know Your Constitution. This club is open to any ninth grade student at Holmes Junior High, and it is run by U.S. history teacher Kevin Kuker. 

Know Your Constitution is an educational program sponsored by the Iowa State Bar Association and the Young Lawyers Division out of Des Moines. Students are in charge of completing a 50 question quiz pertaining to parts of the U.S. Constitution, as well as constructing and writing a short essay based upon a constitutional hypothetical. 

Students have quite a bit of time to work on this optional program. Kuker said, “The program’s questions and essay prompt usually goes ‘live’ around Constitution Day (mid-late September). Students need to have their materials completed and mailed to Des Moines to be evaluated by early December.”

After this, the students are left, eagerly waiting for the results. According to Kuker, the lawyers then will select 100 finalists from across the state and alert those student finalists and their teachers by late December. Those students go to an awards ceremony/luncheon, held in early January, with five winners being randomly selected from the 100 finalists. 

Before COVID, the five randomly selected winners got an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to learn more about our government and the Constitution. But last year, the prize was a student scholarship. 

Kuker said, “I am not fully aware yet of which prize the program coordinators plan to give out this school year, however.”

Holmes freshman Bela Haferman has been working hard on her 50 question quiz. She is 15 questions in, and she has started brainstorming for her essay. 

Haferman said, “I find some of the aspects of this program to be difficult, mainly the essay, since you have to apply some of the Constitution to it (and the reasoning has to be valid); it’s not just what you think is right or wrong.”

Another Holmes freshman, Lindsey Johnson, has also been working hard, but doing some thinking about her future. “I have been thinking about what I would choose for a prize, and I honestly would probably take the cash prize because I could get more use out of the money than a trip.” 

Unfortunately, students don’t get to pick the prize, so Johnson will have to wait and see. 

Haferman and Johnson both said they think that everybody should give this amazing program a try. Haferman said, “I think that this program is really educational and everyone should try it out at least once, since they can get rewarded for expressing their opinion on a topic,” Johnson said, “I think it is a great opportunity to try something new and see where it goes because there is benefit in trying.”

Kuker said he looks forward to this program every year. “I greatly enjoy seeing students research the Constitution at a closer level. It is also very neat to see and read over student essays, regarding how the Constitution can be applied to one’s life. [The Constitution] is definitely a living, breathing document still today.”

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