1999 I Signed the Constitution

I Signed the Constitution --
September 21, 1999.

Bill O'Rights©

List of Participating Schools
National Constitution Center

Since 1993, the National Constitution Center (NCC) has sponsored “I Signed the Constitution” events each year during the national celebration of Constitution Week, September 17-23. Over the last few years more than 500 sites in all 50 states participated. At national parks, libraries, schools and malls across America, an estimated 1.7 million people have reaffirmed their citizenship by placing their signatures next to the signatures of our Founders. Signers receive a pocket-sized Constitution, educational material and a commemorative “I Signed the Constitution” button. Every site is asked to return the signed parchment scrolls to the NCC where they will become part of the permanent archives at the National Constitution Center’s Museum, scheduled to open September 17, 2002. -- National Constitution Center

For the first time in Pennsylvania, a coordinated statewide effort was undertaken and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and many county bar associations, to ensure that children across the Commonwealth were able to take part in the “I Signed the Constitution” program. Schools in nearly every county in Pennsylvania participated in this year’s signing on September 21 -- with close to 20,000 student signers statewide.

The “I Signed the Constitution” event began at 10:00 a.m. with a kick-off program in Harrisburg at the State Capitol was webcast live over the Internet by a group of Pennsylvania students from the Bethlehem Area School District, and broadcast live on cable television by the Pennsylvania Cable Network. This program included, Pennsylvania Education Secretary Eugene Hickok, Lehigh County Common Pleas president Judge James Knoll Gardnerand PBA President Louis Teti talking with students locally, and statewide, about the importance of the Constitution. In addition, the National Constitution Center hosted a performance of the “Four Little Pages,” which depicts the Constitution’s founders and framers at work.

After viewing the kick-off program over the Internet or on cable, participating schools from across the Commonwealth were encouraged to bring all student signers together for a formal program and signing at the local level. The Pennsylvania Bar Association suggested to schools that local legislators, judges and lawyers be asked to talk with students during these programs about the importance of the Constitution, and then help them sign the mock Constitution scrolls.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association is deeply committed to civics and government education in Pennsylvania’s classrooms. Through its partnerships with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Office of Attorney General, the Pennsylvania Cable Network and Temple/LEAP, the PBA is working to become a resource for educators who teach students about the American judicial and legal systems.

“I Signed the Constitution” is a wonderful program for all students and adults. The Pennsylvania Bar Association hopes that by participating in the Constitution signing, people will be reminded of their rights, responsibilities and most importantly, their freedoms.