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- 300 local students join in mock U.S. Constitution signing -

HARRISBURG (Sept. 17, 2002) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) today hosted the kick-off ceremony for the fourth annual statewide “I Signed the Constitution” celebration at Marshall Elementary School in Harrisburg, Pa. Joined by over 300 local students, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin, PBA President Timothy Carson, Harrisburg City School District Superintendent Gerald Kohn and a 7th grade student talked with students about the importance of the Constitution. The ceremony featured live student musical performances and presentations.

“The theme for this year’s celebration is One Nation Indivisible,” said PBA President Carson. “The events of September 11, 2001, left a lasting impact on all Americans, including our children. As we work together to heal as a nation, we now have the opportunity and responsibility to teach children about our country’s strength and history. Words like freedom, democracy and equality can become commonplace in the classroom as we work with schools and parents to foster the spirit of America in our children.”

This year’s Constitution signing, the fourth annual statewide coordinated signing effort, is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association in conjunction with the National Constitution Center. This year’s celebration, which officially began with today’s program, will continue through December 16, which is the beginning of “Bill of Rights Week.” Schools across the commonwealth will be holding mock Constitution signing events throughout the fall.

Pennsylvania’s “I Signed the Constitution” program is part of the larger national celebration of the U.S. Constitution. 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.

In the coming months, schools throughout the commonwealth will host local mock Constitution signing programs featuring local judges, lawyers and/or legislators. 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 the U.S. Constitution, visit the National Constitution Center’s Web site at www.constitutioncenter.org. For more information on Pennsylvania’s program, visit the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Web site at www.pabar.org.