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35,000 Students Join in Statewide Signing of the U.S. Constitution

HARRISBURG (Sept. 21, 2000) - Thirty-five thousand students from 96 schools in 34 Pennsylvania counties today joined Secretary of the Commonwealth Kim Pizzingrilli, Pennsylvania Education Deputy Secretary Thomas Carey, Pennsylvania Bar Association President Marvin Lieber and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor in signing the U.S. Constitution through a live television broadcast on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

The broadcasted signing from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chambers, which included 90 students from Shaull Elementary School in Enola, PA, also featured a performance of the nationally-acclaimed “Four Little Pages” sponsored by the National Constitution Center. This play, created in 1987 for the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, depicts the Constitution’s founders and framers at work.

“The ‘Keystone State’ long has been regarded as America's birthplace,” Secretary Pizzingrilli told the students. “The freedoms that we enjoy in our nation today are unique to many places in the world. The rights and liberties that our forefathers established are the bedrock upon which our communities were founded.”

The Secretary encouraged students to become lifelong participants in the electoral process. “Your active participation in the voting process is vital to preserving our most cherished right: the right to vote.”

This year’s Constitution signing, the second statewide coordinated signing effort, was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and National Constitution Center, and locally by many county bar associations.

The “I Signed the Constitution” program is part of the larger national celebration of Constitution Week, September 18-22. Since 1993, an estimated 1.7 million people have signed the Constitution at national parks, libraries, schools and malls across America. The purpose of the program is to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution, its history and its relevance.

“The theme of this year’s signing celebration is Vote It Up!,” said Pennsylvania Bar Association President Marvin Lieber. “Our Constitution ensures that each of us has a voice in the governance of our country. So as we move closer to election day, we thought it important to help students understand what it means to vote and how the Constitution protects that important right and freedom for all Americans.”

Secretary Pizzingrilli, Deputy Secretary Carey, PBA President Lieber and Justice Saylor spoke with students statewide about the importance of the Constitution and why they need to understand how the state and federal governments work.

Following the broadcast from Harrisburg, schools throughout the commonwealth hosted local programs that featured local judges, lawyers and/or legislators as speakers and local signings of the mock Constitution. The Constitution scrolls signed by the students will be sent to the new National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for display.

For more information on the “I Signed the Constitution” Program and the national celebration of Constitution Week, visit the National Constitution Center’s Web site at www.constitutioncenter.org. For more information on Pennsylvania’s program and a list of participating schools, visit the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Web site at www.pabar.org.