Essay Schedule – Fire on the Floor: The Rules, Conflict, and Debate that Fuel the United States Congress

Introduction – Guest Essayist: Professor William Morrisey

Introduction Part 2 – Guest Essayist: Professor William Morrisey

Beginnings of The United States Congress as the Legislative Branch – How and Where Congress Began Meeting, Purpose and Founders’ Vision for a Bicameral Congress – Guest Essayists: Tony Williams & Marc Clauson

House History – Purpose of the United States House of Representatives as the immediate will of the people and how it differs from the Senate = Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner

Senate History – Purpose of the United States Senate, known as the upper house, the “cooling factor” or “sober, second thought” as it relates to the United States House of Representatives – Guest Essayists: James Legee & Forrest Nabors

The First Congress meets March 4, 1789 in New York City with a new Constitution in effect during the first Congress of the United States: From 1789 to today; how, when and why Congress convenes – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

Legislative Branch – Of the three branches of American government: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial as established in the United States Constitution, the most important, Legislative, the branch of the people whose primary role is lawmaking – Guest Essayist: James Legee

Legislative Branch – Why the Legislative Branch is listed first in Article I of the United States Constitution – Guest Essayist: James Best

Form of Government – What it means to have a republican form of government and why this structure mattered to America’s Founders and Framers of the Constitution in Article IV, Section 4 –Guest Essayist: Professor Joerg Knipprath

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Congress – Guest Essayist: Gary Porter

 Articles of Confederation – The first written constitution of the United States, lead to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, how the early Congress wanted to represent the people and avoid becoming a tyranny – Guest Essayist: George Landrith .

Articles of Confederation – Congress wielded all three powers: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive, that were later separated. What the Framers thought of the Articles of Confederation and why they did not last – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter, Patrick Garry .

Bill of Rights – In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison he writes, “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth” on designing an effective government that remains in the hands of the American people by placing limits on Congressional governing – Guest Essayist: Andrew Langer , Gary Porter, Patrick Garry

Bill of Rights – Congressman James Madison addresses the House in 1789 on Amendments to the United States Constitution, and guides the Bill of Rights through the United States House of Representatives – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams .

Federalist No. 10 – Political stability v. instability and the necessities for good government in the relationship between American citizens and those among them who serve as members of Congress – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner .

Federalist No. 51 and 53 – The necessities for good government in regards to checks and balances between the branches of government: How the American people hold Congress accountable – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath .

Federalist No. 62 and 63 – Powers vested in the Senate, order and soundness of Congress: The Senate as a stable body, for a sense of national character responsible to the people – Guest Essayist: Joseph Knippenberg, Forrest Nabors

Culture of Debates on the House and Senate Floors – How congressional debate has changed throughout the over 200 years of Floor proceedings; importance of decorum and civil debate especially in the Senate – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

Statesmanship and the Great Debates – Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun with distinguished oratory about the Constitution and American Union in the early 1800s.

The Great Debates – The Decision of 1789: Separation of powers, and the dispute between Congress and the President on removal of presidential appointees – Guest Essayist: David Alvis .

The Great Debates – Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and the role of Congress in the creation and constitutionality of the National Bank – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams .

The Great Debates – Missouri Compromise of 1820 – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

The Great Debates – 1830 Senate speech by Senator Robert Haynes and Daniel Webster’s reply to Robert Haynes’ speech – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath .

Freedom of Speech within Congressional Debates – John Quincy Adams and his epic struggle against the Gag Rule in the 1840s – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams .

The Great Debates – Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) who served as a congressman and senator from Illinois, was instrumental in the Compromise of 1850 and Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854; known as “the Little Giant” – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

The Great Debates – League of Nations Senate debate of 1919; Wilson, Lodge, and the fight over the Versailles Treaty and congressional prerogative over declaration of war. Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) from New Jersey served as 28th President of the United States. Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924) served as a congressman and senator from Massachusetts – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams .

The Great Debates – Women’s Suffrage in regards to voting and serving in Congress

The Great Debates – Entry into WWII and the America First debate – Guest Essayist: James Legee .

The Great Debates – Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) – Served as the sixth President of the United States 1825-1829, a Massachusetts congressman and senator – Guest Essayist: Brian Pawlowski .

Henry Clay (1777-1852) – Served as Speaker of the House under President John Quincy Adams and senator, from Kentucky, and leader of the Whig party – Guest Essayist: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell

John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) – Served as the nation’s seventh Vice President of the United States to Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, a South Carolina congressman and senator

Daniel Webster (1782-1852) – Served as a New Hampshire congressman and senator, and in the Cabinet as secretary of state under Presidents Willian Henry Harrison and John Tyler; known as “The Great Orator”

Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858) – Served as a congressman and senator; elected in 1820, one of the first two Missouri senators, recognized as a Senate leader for the Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren administrations

William Boyd Allison (1829-1908) Served as a congressman and senator from Iowa

James G. Blaine (1830-1893) – Served as Secretary of State, appointed by Presidents James Garfield and Benjamin Harrison, a representative and senator from Maine – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) – Served as Speaker of the House, a congressman and state senator from Maine; known for “Reed’s Rules” and being a very influential House Speaker – Guest Essayist: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell Guest Essayist:.

Nelson W. Aldrich (1841-1915) – Served as a congressman and senator from Rhode Island, a Republican Party leader – Guest Essayist: TBA

Samuel Rayburn (1882-1961) – Served as a congressman from Texas, Speaker of the House of Representatives – Guest Essayist: TBA

Howard Worth Smith (1883-1976) – Served as a congressman from Virginia, Rules Committee chairman- Guest Essayist: TBA

Robert Taft (1889-1953) – Served as a state representative and Unite States senator from Ohio; son of President William Howard Taft – Guest Essayist: TBA

Mike Mansfield (1903-2001) – Served as a congressman, and Senate Majority Leader from Montana – Guest Essayist: James Legee .

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) (1908-1973) – Served as 36th President of the United States; Vice President to John F. Kennedy; congressman from Texas, Senate Minority and Majority Leader; known for his progressive “Great Society” programs – Guest Essayist: TBA

Thomas Philip, Jr. (Tip) O’Neill (1912-1994) – Served as a congressman from Massachusetts as Democratic Whip, Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House – Guest Essayist: TBA

Henry J. Hyde (1924-2007) – Served as a congressman from Illinois, Majority Leader and Chair of the Judiciary Committee – Guest Essayist: TBA

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) – Served as a senator from New York; Democratic Party Leader in Congress – Guest Essayist: TBA

Newt Gingrich (1943) – Served as a congressman from Georgia, Speaker of the House, and Republican Whip; led the 1994 Contract with America – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

Book: Great Senators of the United States by Oliver Dyer, a summary

Book: The Challenge of Congressional Representation by Richard F. Fenno, a summary – Frank Reilly .

Magna Carta, Parliament and the origins of Representative Congress – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner . Marc Clauson .

Virginia House of Burgesses and colonial legislatures as the basis for consent and American self-government – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath .

Representative Government – How Congress is designed by America’s Founders so a king could not rule, but instead the American people rule within a civil society – Guest Essayist: James D. Best .

Compensation – Influence payment has on statesmanship of Congress members

Rule of Law – Meaning of the Rule of Law and its importance to the functions of Congress in representing the American people – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner . Gary Porter . Adam MacLeod . Marc Clauson .

The Great Compromise of 1787 – Maintained fairness of the bicameral, proportional representation, provided each small state the same voting power as each large state, under the Constitution – Guest Essayist: Robert McDonald .

Election of Congress – Significance of House and Senate Members elected directly by the people: Congressional districts, population, how the number of constituents affects representation – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath .

Election of Congress – Why the election method matters for the stability and continuity of representative government – Guest Essayist: Gary Porter

Midterms – What a midterm election involves and why they are important for successful functioning of Congress – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

Campaign Finance – Laws related to campaign finance, a history and impact on running for Congress – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner . Frank Reilly .

Counting the Personal Cost – Impact that running for elected office, and serving in Congress, has on the members and their families – Guest Essayist: James D. Best

Rules of the United States House of Representatives: Purpose and how the House rules are decided – Guest Essayist: TBA

Rules of the United States Senate: Purpose and how the Senate rules are decided – Guest Essayist: TBA

Roles of Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and Whip, for an effective Congress – Guest Essayist: TBA

Congressional Aides: How staff who assist members of Congress help them understand bills – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

Federalism especially in regards to the Senate; and federalism, Congress, and legislative power – Guest Essayist: Andrew Langer . Patrick Garry

Oversight – Congress acts as a watchdog over bureaucracy – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner .

Separation of Powers, Checks & Balances and Impeachment: Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton – Guest Essayist: Andrew Langer .

Treaty – How treaties have evolved and how Congress must decide on treaties

Congressional Powers During War – The United States Congress versus the Confederate Congress during the Civil War – Guest Essayist: James D. Best .

Congress, Declarations of War and authorization of force and War Powers Act e.g., Korea, Vietnam, Iraq – Guest Essayist: TBA

Budget – How Congress uses its power over the budget to make policy, and the constitutional problems that arise in the budget process – Guest Essayist: TBA

Introducing Legislation – Where do ideas for bills come from? – Guest Essayist: TBA

How a Bill Becomes Law – Guest Essayist: TBA

Germane – What should and should not be placed in a bill to keep legislation easy to understand and appropriate – Guest Essayist: James D. Best

Length of Legislation – Why bills have grown significantly in length over the history of the United States Congress – Guest Essayist: Marc Clauson

Committee Process – Purpose and process of legislative committees in the House of Representatives and Senate – Guest Essayist: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell .

Constitutional Muster – Hearings and the Committee Process – How representative government happens during committee hearings – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

From Committee to the Floor for a Vote – What happens in committee, and the role of the American people in the committee process – Guest Essayist: TBA

Gridlock – Why Congress is so contentious, and how the clash over views in heated debates by opposing sides can pave the way for passage of good laws – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner .

Sign or Not Sign Into Law? Getting a bill from introduction in Congress to the President’s desk: How easy should it be? – Guest Essayist: Gary Porter .

Partisanship and Violence in Congress –1790s and 1850s caning of Charles Sumner (1811-1874) who served as a senator and abolitionist from Massachusetts – Guest Essayist: George Landrith .

Revolt of 1910 against House Speaker Joseph Cannon (1836-1926) whose powers as House Speaker were removed in 1910. Cannon, a congressman from Illinois, also served as Conference Chair – Guest Essayist: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell .

Filibuster – History of the filibuster, today used only by the Senate, its purpose and effects on the legislative process – Guest Essayist: Frank Reilly .

Will They Agree? When legislation must go to a conference committee after the House and Senate – Guest Essayist: TBA

Transformation of the Parties – How the Democratic and Republican parties have changed throughout the history of the United States, and the effects on Congress – Guest Essayist: Marc Clauson

An imperial Congress after Watergate? – Guest Essayist: TBA

Congress and the rise of the progressive administrative state – Guest Essayists: Joe Postell, Samuel Postell Patrick Garry, Marc Clauson .

Lobbying – The influence of lobbyists on the old system, when political bosses were in charge; and now, when candidates need campaign dollars – Guest Essayist: TBA

Press – How media coverage affects the legislative process – Guest Essayist: TBA

Technology – Impact made on and by Congress from ink and quill to use of electronic voting, the Internet, and televised Floor proceedings – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

Concluding Essay – Guest Essayist: TBA


Introduction: The United States Congress And Its Place In Constitutional Government – Guest Essayist: William Morrisey

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Against the arbitrary rule of George III, the American Founders opposed the rule of law. On the most fundamental level, in their Declaration of Independence, they appealed to the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God against tyrannical violations of the unalienable rights established by those laws. Eleven years later, in designing the human, conventional, constitutional law that reframed the federal government, the Founders established a republican regime intended to prevent the return of arbitrary rule to their country.

Of the three branches of government, they put the legislature first; understanding that the perfect, divine Lawgiver established the rule of His laws in nature, the Founders knew that procedures established for imperfect, human lawmakers needed to keep such persons directed toward the defense of the natural laws. Congress also ‘came first’ for a historical reason: In our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, the legislature was the only branch of government. Not only was Congress itself unicameral, but the executive and judicial powers were folded into it. Read more

Nicole Bratcher-Bouyer

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The premise of my life has been that all things, both good and bad, work in my favor to fulfill my purpose in life. At only 21 years of age, I am still piecing together exactly what I am meant to do for humanity, however, I am certain that all I have endured is the reason I am here today reaping the benefits of this wonderful scholarship award! I am just a girl from 79th Street in Chicago who lost her father at age five to gun violence and was raised by a single mother just trying to make ends meet. I am the girl who watched her mother have a stroke before her eyes and became a primary caregiver at the age of 15 years old.

A few years ago, if you looked at me you would wonder how was this girl who spent every waking moment at home taking care of her disabled mother and every moment at school catching up on sleep going to get into the top Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in the country and thrive on its grounds. Truth be told, I couldn’t answer for you either. All I know is I have been intuned with my inner voice since I was a child. My inner voice guided me through all adversities I had to face. My inner voice could see all I was surrounded by and keep me reminded that I wanted more out of life for myself and loved ones. That inner voice spoke to me daily through caregiving, homelessness, and dark nights of depression. It told me there was more out there for me but I needed to fight for it.

I fought what seemed to be aimlessly to maintain a high GPA, pay my entire tuition throughout college alone, and still have a smile on my face and desire in my heart to see the finish line. Well as a senior at Howard University, I am almost at the finish line where I will be receiving a Bachelors of Arts degree in Media, Journalism, and Film Studies May of 2018. At the finish line I see tears of joy and an opportunity to return to my hometown and pour the same love and growth into it as it has poured into me. I came into senior year not knowing how I would finish financially. I am so thankful to say that We The Future Contest has helped solve that problem for me! To anyone out there with a similar story or facing adversity, I just want you to know that there is good in everything that happens to you. The more you trust in this mindset and your abilities to overcome all adversities, the more you will see life work in your favor.

Read Winning Work Here.

Lindsay Gallagher

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Lindsay Gallagher is a senior at Spencerport High School in Spencerport, NY. She is the manager of her school’s bookstore, the Vice President of Competition for her DECA chapter, the president of her school’s Business Honor Society, the president of her Model UN team, and the founder and president of her school’s Girl Up Club. She is also the Regional Summit and Event Coordinator for the Upstate New York Girl Up Coalition and works as a pharmacy technician at the Wegmans Pharmacy. Lindsay is excited to be attending college next year to major in Finance.

View Winning Work Here.

Dakare Chatman

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Dakare C. Chatman was born on August 17th and is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Dakare now resides in Lenoir, North Carolina, where he attends the Caldwell Early College, and is in the ninth grade. Dakare is a strong supporter of the fine arts and has appeared in many play productions. Some of his many roles include Ollie in “Yes Virginia,” Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol,” Prince Chufa Chulalongkorn in “ The King and I,” Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” and Seaweed J. Stubbs in “Hairspray.” Dakare also plays the trumpet and alto saxophone and loves singing. Dakare has been public speaking/ acting since he was able to talk. Dakare’s life quote is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Dakare wants to attend UNC Chapel Hill and major in Theater Performing Arts. Dakare would like to thank the Constituting America staff for this opportunity and for their hard work and dedication in educating our country to learn the constitution.

James Madison, the Bill of Rights & Political Compromise

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James Madison, 1751-1836, “the father of the Bill of Rights”

As we celebrate the 226th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights, American politics and civic life seems more and more divided. The founding generation often saw a political environment that was just as divided as ours, if not even more so. Virginia statesman James Madison gives us an example of principled compromise to achieve the principles of limited government and inalienable rights as he became the “father of the Bill of Rights.”

The origins of Madison’s work creating the Bill of Rights was rooted in his experience in the 1780s. In Virginia, he witnessed the established Anglican Church violating the freedom of conscience of religious dissenters. As a result, he became the primary advocate for Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. In early 1787, Madison was preparing for the Constitutional Convention and wrote an essay entitled “Vices of the Political System” detailing the flaws of the Articles of Confederation. One of the main problems in his view was that tyrannical majorities in the states passed unjust laws violating the rights of minorities.

At the Constitutional Convention, Madison supported the constitutional principles that would limit government and protect individual liberties. However, he lost one central feature of his plan of government—a national veto over state laws to prevent majority tyranny in the states. Still, he became one of the greatest supporters of the Constitution.

During the ratification debate, the Federalists who supported the Constitution had to promise that they would pass a bill of rights if the Antifederalist opponents agreed to a bill of rights. Madison opposed a bill of rights because he thought that they were often just “parchment barriers” that overbearing majorities violated in the states. At this point, he thought “the amendments are a blemish.”

Madison conducted an extensive correspondence with his friend Thomas Jefferson, who was in Paris at the time. Jefferson lamented the absence of a bill of rights in the Constitution and asserted, “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth.” Madison began to change his mind.

Madison ran against Virginian James Monroe for a seat in the House of Representatives and made a campaign promise to support a bill of rights, particularly liberty of conscience. He also composed President George Washington’s Inaugural Address, which indicated support for a bill of rights in the First Congress.

Representative Madison became the champion for a bill of rights in the First Congress, but met a hostile reception for the idea. Most representatives and senators thought that the Congress had more important work to do setting up the new government. Madison was undeterred and dedicated to the cause of protecting the people’s liberties.

On June 8, 1789, Madison rose on the floor of the House to deliver a speech in favor of a bill of rights. His arguments were founded on a harmonious political order and the ideals of justice. A bill of rights would convince the Antifederalists of the “principles of amity and moderation” from the Federalists, especially when they fulfilled a sacred promise made during the ratification debate. Rhode Island and North Carolina, which had withheld their ratification of the Constitution, would also join the Union. Mostly, the Bill of Rights would “expressly declare the great rights of mankind secured under this constitution.”

Madison then skillfully guided the amendments through the Congress. He reconciled all the various proposals for amendments from the state ratifying conventions and kept the amendments protecting essential liberties. He wanted them to be woven into the text of the Constitution, and sought a key amendment to protect religious freedom, a free press, and a trial by jury against violation by state governments. He lost both these provisions but still guided the Bill of Rights through Congress. Congress approved twelve amendments, and President Washington sent them to the states.

On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the last state to ratify the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights fulfilled Madison’s goals of reconciling the opponents of the Constitution and protecting individual liberties. He did not get everything he wanted but compromised often along the way to secure limited government and the essential rights of the people.

Tony Williams is a Constituting America Fellow and the author of Washington & Hamilton: The Alliance that Forged America and the forthcoming Hamilton: An American Biography.


Kevin Fernandes

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Kevin Vicente is 17 years old, and attending the Boston Arts Academy in Boston, Massachusetts. Along side his artistic pursuits, he also has been programming since he was 12 years old, and is currently taking the advanced C++ programming course at Bunker Hill Community College. Outside of class, he likes to play video games and solving logic and mathematical puzzles.

Download Winning Work Here.

Kennedy Owens

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Hi, my name is Kennedy Owens. I am 11 years old, in 6th grade, and attend Sergeant Paul R. Smith Middle School in Tampa, Florida. My hobbies include: swimming, creating art, playing computer games, and making apps and YouTube videos. My main inspiration behind the Constitution Classroom app was to provide a useful resource for people interested in learning about the U.S. Government and the Constitution. I am thankful and appreciative for being named the winner of the Best Middle School STEM project for 2017.

View Winning Work Here.

Kevin McCraney

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Kevin McCraney, 28, from Seattle, Washington. Kevin has experimented with narrative and media since he was young. Ever the consummate creator, he gained experience working with video and music by producing material for school projects and his personal travel blog. After traveling the world and documenting his adventures, he is currently attending the MS in Information Program at the University of Washington. In the future, he hopes to work in government, advocating for laws that embolden the ethical production and use of technology.

Wesley Castillo

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Wesley Castillo is a 17 year old student living in Inwood, WV. He is currently on his senior year at Musselman High School. In addition to his regular classes, he attends a program at James Rumsey Technical Institute where he studies Web Development & Gaming. Outside of his classes he likes to record videos, play on his Xbox, & serve at his church. Wesley also enjoys watching political debates and commentaries and considers Civics to be his favorite non-technical class.

Cole Ritter

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Based in Gallatin, TN, 17 year old Cole Ritter is a talented musician who started violin lessons at age 3. A skilled musician, he plays a wide variety of stringed instruments, writes music, and sings. He also is versatile in musical genres with influences from classical, jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll, and Indie. Cole plans to pursue a degree in commercial music in college, hopefully followed by a successful career as a writer, performer and studio musician.

Katherine Plotz

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Katherine Plotz, 17, is from Chehalis, Washington, but currently resides in Tokyo and is in the 12th grade at The American School in Japan. Her passion for piano started at the age of three, and has influenced her fascination with mathematics, which she hopes to continue studying in college. She is in her school’s jazz band, and is president of the Space Club. She contributes to her community through various types of service, and leads her church’s praise team. ZYis

Alissa Dorman

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Alissa Dorman is currently a senior at Madison High School in Rexburg, Idaho. Alissa has always loved to write, from her first poetry contest in third grade to her We The Future entry. However, writing isn’t her only hobby. Alissa loves science, and she also loves to play the piano and the violin. Alissa is planning on attending Brigham Young University and majoring in piano performance.

Read Essay Here.

Mallory Doyle

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Mallory Doyle, 13, is an 8th Grader at Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Shelton, CT. She is a member of the Junior National Honor Society and has participated in Student Council, Drama Club, Peer Tutoring and Math League. With a strong foundation in academics and faith, she volunteers and actively participates in community service activities. She serves as a Student Ambassador for Kids Helping Kids and a 4H Teen Leader. She is currently a member of the U14 Girls Premier Soccer Team and has competed in gymnastics and dance, sang with the United Girls Choir with a performance at Woolsey Hall, Yale University and acted in local theater.

Read Essay Here.

Tova Love Kaplan

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Tova Love Kaplan, 13, is an eighth grader in the Chicago Public School system attending Whitney Young High School’s Academic Center. One of the most established and competitive middle schools in the nation, the school for the academically advanced averages 2,000 applicants for its 120 seats. Tova is also a professional actor with a musical theater background and featured roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Mercury Theater Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Choir, and Paramount Theatre. Her commercial work has included TV spots and video projects for the Wisconsin Dells Tourism board, Second City Networks and Onion Productions. Tova is a member of Student Council, Girl Scouts, and Best Buddies, a student-run friendship club between typical peers and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. On weekends, she is a Hebrew school teacher aide and also raises money for Bake Sale for Justice, a monthly event held by families that fights for justice for all people.

View Winning Work Here.

Mandi Hopper

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Hopper Photography

Mandi Hopper is 13 years old and lives in Dublin, VA. She is homeschooled and loves acting, singing, and making cupcakes.

View Photograph Here

Joshua Landgraf

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My name is Joshua Landgraf and I am 11 years old and 6th grade student at Eubanks Intermediate School in Southlake, Texas.
My interests include writing graphic novels, sketching and drawing 3-dimensional art, playing tennis, playing with my three siblings and I have a voracious appetite for reading, especially mythology of all types. I enjoy all of my classes, especially, math and history. Also, I enjoy watching shows like Tiny House and I would like to be an architect, engineer or a lawyer.

Gabriella Tommasi

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My name is Gabriella Tommasi, and I am 11 years old. I have had a passion for music since I can remember!  I love playing electric guitar most of all, but also play piano, drums and just this year, I have begun to play the trombone in the Eubanks Intermediate School band. I do more than just jam, I also love to swim, paint, and spend time with my friends.  I have a younger brother and sister, Maximillian and Angelica, and we are very close. Last, but certainly not least, I am blessed with the most amazing parents who continue to support and encourage me throughout my journey. God Bless. 

Jackson Lipschutz

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Jackson Lipschutz, 10, is a fourth grader at Corbett Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. He lives with his two sisters, his parents and his French Bulldog, Captain. His favorite subjects are writing, history and science. He enjoys playing the drums, creating art and also reading. He is a Boy Scout and loves the outdoors. Jackson is truly honored to have won this award.

View Artwork Here.

McConnell Gorman

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McConnell Gorman, 11 years old , lives in Colleyville, Texas. He attends Grapevine Faith Christian School and is in the fifth grade. He loves sports and plays tackle football. When he is not playing sports, he loves drawing. He enjoys drawing both realistic and cartoon compositions. He considers himself blessed to have won this art honor!

View Artwork Here.

Cason McIntyre

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Cason McIntyre, age 7, is a first grader at Estes Park Elementary School in Estes Park, Colorado. While he very much enjoys reading and art at school, he would say his favorite subject is recess! He spends many hours pouring over books or with a colored pencil in hand, working on his next masterpiece. He also loves to play with Legos. Outside of school, Cason enjoys hunting with his dad and enjoying the great outdoors. He also helps with the family garden and cares for his flock of hens. Cason is full of life and shares a smile with everyone he meets. Cason is very excited to receive this award.

Read Poem Here.

Lena McIntyre

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Lena McIntyre, age 9, is a fourth grader at Estes Park Elementary School in Estes Park, Colorado. Her favorite subjects in school are science and art and she stays very active with choir and basketball. Outside of school, she expresses her creative side through art and dance. Living in Colorado also allows for many fun outdoor activities including hiking, hunting with her dad and fishing. She stays busy helping care for the family chickens and also loves getting her hands dirty in the garden. Lena is a wonderful young lady who enjoys life to the fullest. She is very excited to receive this award.

Read Poem Here.

Why is Actress Janine Turner Speaking at the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy?

As an educator at The Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in Dallas, I have the unique opportunity to touch the lives of over 160 young men in my 7th grade Texas History and 8th grade US History classes.

Not long ago, we had actress Janine Turner founder and co-chair of of Constituting America come to my class to speak to our young men about the relevancy of the US Constitution today. Uniquely Janine explained how the Constitution “empowers them” and she enlightened them about what she calls the “tools in their tool box” in the First Amendment, how to use them and how the tool of petitioning – followed by press, speech and assembly – can affect long lasting legislative and amendment change. She also stressed how they are not to young to start this process. Ms. Turner has visited our school for the past 4 school years to help our students learn about their rights, and her non-partisan approach to the Constitution is refreshing compared to the usual treatment it receives in the mainstream media.

Each morning we have a character-building assembly called “Lyceum..” After the tragic events that happened in Las Vegas, our principal decided to teach some of our students about thinking flexibly by looking at gun control. First, our principal approached it from a pro-gun control point of view, using a viral Jimmy Kimmel video to begin a discussion. During our classroom discussion, one of our young men brought up some information Ms. Turner provided to them: “Ms. Turner told us that we have the Right to Petition and we need to start a petition to make the background check process much more thorough.” Another young man said, “I believe any legislation regarding gun control would be useless. Only those who obey the laws already will obey the changes.” The next day in Lyceum we discussed gun control again, but this time from the opposite point of view. I am constantly amazed at the level of thinking of our young men – and deep too.

One day, I decided to illustrate for my students that the fact that 11 teenagers die every day from texting and driving accidents. I called some of my young men out into the hallway and asked them to stay there. When I went back in the classroom some other young men asked: “Where did they go?” I explained that they represented the 11 that had died that day from texting and driving accidents. The realization hit that these numbers were real. Even 1 death was too many, much less 11 each day.

After showing my young men the statistics, I told them that I was going to petition my Congressional Representatives to write a law banning cell phones for teenagers. They were quick to respond saying “You can’t take away something my parents purchased.” They also explained, “My parents will get me one anyway.” One student said, “There aren’t enough Policemen to regulate it.” Another said, “If my Parents want me to have one then it is my right to have one and they can’t stop me.”
Then one of my students spoke up saying “That was exactly my point about gun control.” You see, he was the one that said earlier, “I believe any legislation regarding Gun Control would be useless. Only those who obey the laws already will obey the changes.”

There really are some smart young men in our school. I am grateful to Ms. Turner for taking time from her schedule to come to our school and remind our young men, in a non-partisan and unbiased way, that the US Constitution applies as much to us today as it did our founding fathers in 1787 and how they can have an influential impact on the future of our Republic.

Tom McLaughlin is Retired from the US Navy and is currently a 7th grade Texas History and 8th grade US History Teacher at the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in Dallas, Texas


“Long & Little Known” White Paper


Nancy Tunick founded GrassRoots Promotion with Teresa Johnston-Chance in 1996 and has been managing partner of GrassRoots Promotion since 2002 where she presently consults artists and record label clients while directing GrassRoots Promotion’s operations. Nancy also served as Vice-President of Promotion at Warner Bros. Records Nashville, Vice-President of Promotion at VFR Records where her team made history by taking Mark McGuinn’s debut single into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Country chart, making it the highest debut from an independent country artist in three decades, and prior to that was National Promotion Director at Asylum Records. She was named by Music Row Magazine as the Best Independent Record Promoter for 2004 after she developed and implemented the strategy behind the radio success of Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses” which resulted in the first #1 Country single for a Christian song in the history of Billboard magazine. Tunick began her music career after college as an on-air personality and music director in various formats of radio that included Urban, Classical, Jazz and Country. She currently serves on the St. Jude Country Cares Advisory Board and has previously consulted Hear The Music Live, a national non-profit that provides concert going experiences to children in residential foster care homes and orphanages and served on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle TN. Nancy is also the Rabbi at Temple B’nai Israel in Florence, AL and is a cantorial singer, composer and motivational speaker.


Monica Crowley is an American political commentator and lobbyist. She is a Fox News contributor, where she works from 1996 to 2017, a former online opinion editor for The Washington Times, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Nancy Kay Arnold is a renowned educator of 30 years and author. In addition to writing the beloved children’s books Patriotic Pups, Pioneer Pups, and Pilgrim Pups, Mrs. Arnold also puts on entertaining and informative programs for children and adults about American history and the importance of patriotism.


A high school teacher for the past 20 years, Terry Cherry has also served as Educator Advisor for the 6th Floor Museum in Dallas, the Dallas Holocaust Museum and is active with the Educators Advisory Council of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. He is currently present of the National Council for the Social Studies.


Amy Ciraolo is a photographer and founder of Amy Kris Photography.


Jonathan Flora is an award-winning producer with Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, also directing commercials and music videos. He is the Director/Producer of the Award Winning Documentary, “Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good” featuring Academy Award Nominated Actor Gary Sinise with appearances by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight, and more. In 2011, he received the inaugural Santini Patriot Spirit Award given annually to a filmmaker whose work honors American veterans or their families. A veteran of the U.S. Army’s 82d Airborne Division and serving 12 years in the military, Jonathan received his B.S.A. in Television Performance and Production from Ohio University. Following three years as a radio sports broadcaster, Jonathan returned to O.U. to earn his M.S.A. in Marketing.


Hannity is an American talk show host, author, and conservative political commentator. Hannity is the host of The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show. He also hosts a cable news show, Hannity, on Fox News Channel. Hannity has received several awards and honors, including a Marconi Award in 2003 and 2007. He received an honorary degree from Jerry Falwell, the chancellor of Liberty University in 2005, and a Freedom of Speech Award by Talkers Magazine in 2003. Hannity has written three books. His Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism, Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism, and Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda have all been New York Times Bestsellers.


John Rich is an American country music singer-songwriter. From 1992 to 1998, he was a member of the country music band Lonestar, in which he played bass guitar and alternated with Richie McDonald as lead vocalist. After departing from the band in 1998, he embarked on a solo career on BNA Records in the late 1990s, releasing two singles for the label and recording Underneath the Same Moon, which was not released until 2006. By 2003, he joined Big Kenny to form the duo Big & Rich, who released three albums on Warner Bros. Records as well as ten singles, including the Number One “Lost in This Moment”.


Burgess Owens is a retired safety who played ten seasons in the National Football League for the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. Owens is the author of an ebook published in August 2012 with the title, It’s All About Team: Exposing the Black Talented Tenth. The book examines how the black community has fared since the start of the twentieth century, especially in following the thinking of W. E. B. Dubois and progressive liberalism. Owens is the author of Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps (2016) which offers a history and analysis of the Black experience in the U.S.A. with suggestions for moving past conventional ideas of moving the Black community forward.


Before joining FOX News in 1996, Hume was with ABC News for 23 years, serving as chief White House correspondent from 1989 through 1996. During his tenure, he contributed to World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Nightline and This Week, as well as various specials for the news division. Hume joined ABC in 1973 as a consultant for the network’s documentary division and was named a Washington correspondent in 1976. He was later promoted to Capitol Hill correspondent and reported on Congress until 1988. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2003 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism from the National Press Foundation and a 1991 Emmy Award for his coverage of the Gulf War. The author of two books “Inside Story” and “Death and the Mines,” Hume was named “the best in the business” by the American Journalism Review for his extensive news coverage of the White House.


Currently in his sixth term, State Representative Tan Parker represents House District 63 that from Flower Mound to Argyle. Initially elected to office in 2006, Parker is an effective champion for economic development, job creation, tax relief, appraisal reform, border security, and promoting fiscally responsible government spending. For the 85th Legislative Session, Parker was re-appointed as Chairman of the House Committee on Investments and Financial Services and the Chairman of the House Republican Caucus, which represents all 95 Republican House members. Previously, Parker has served on House Committees with jurisdiction over: the state prison system, technological and economic development, Texas’ fiscal policy, financial institutions, the delivery of social services, municipal operations, and other key issues facing Texas.


Gary Sinise was born in Blue Island, Illinois, to a family who supported his artistic endeavors, and encouraged his drive to create. At the age of 10 his parents bought him his first guitar and he played actively in bands into his 20s. Gary began acting during his sophomore year in high school in Highland Park. In 1994, Sinise’s portrayal of Lt. Dan, in the Academy Award winning film Forrest Gump, brought him mainstream attention and earned him nominations for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award. He received the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review, and the Commander’s Award from the Disabled American Veterans for the role as well. He then went on to take starring roles in the acclaimed Apollo 13 opposite Tom Hanks; the thriller Ransom with Mel Gibson and Rene Russo; and Brian DePalma’s psychological thriller Snake Eyes with Nicholas Cage.


FOX News Channel’s chief political anchor, Bret Baier, is no stranger to Washington, DC. In 2006, he was named Chief White House Correspondent, and covered the second term of the George W. Bush administration. During his tenure at the network, Baier interviewed two sitting Presidents and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He provided coverage of the 2012 campaign cycle and, more recently, anchored the first GOP debate of the 2016 election season. Baier is also the anchor of Special Report with Bret Baier, the top-rated cable news program in its time slot.


One of Cannon’s first notable compositions was “I Love the Way You Love Me”, a Number One hit for John Michael Montgomery in 1993, which Cannon co-wrote with Victoria Shaw. This song also won the Song of the Year award at the Academy of Country Music awards, which is awarded to songwriters. From there, Cannon began working primarily for Toby Keith, including “Me Too”, “Dream Walkin'”, “We Were in Love”, “Getcha Some”, “If a Man Answers” and “When Love Fades” in the late 1990s, “How Do You Like Me Now?!” in 2000, and “American Soldier” in 2003-2004. “How Do You Like Me Now?!” was also the Number One country song of the year according to the Billboard Year-End charts. Both it and “I Love the Way You Love Me” earned Eight-Million-Air awards from Broadcast Music Incorporated for receiving eight million spins at radio. Cannon also self-released two albums: God Shaped Hole and Love and Money in 2006 and 2008, respectively.


Lari White is an award-winning recording artist, hit songwriter and producer, indie record label owner, and actress. Her music has earned three Grammys (The Apostle Soundtrack and Amazing Grace 1 and 2: A Country Tribute), and RIAA Gold (Wishes/RCA Records). Lari made music history as the first female producer of a male superstar, producing Toby Keith’s platinum album White Trash with Money. Her production of Shawn Mullins’ My Stupid Heart album garnered universal praise. As a songwriter, her credits include Tammy Wynette, Toby Keith, Lonestar, Danny Gokey, and Pat Green. She appeared opposite Tom Hanks in the blockbuster movie Cast Away, and has starred in films for Lifetime TV and CMT. She made her critically-acclaimed Broadway debut originating the role of June in Ring Of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Lari has sung with the NY Pops, Boston Pops, and the Atlanta and Nashville Symphonies, and recently launched her popular online Vocal Course through


Suzanne Weinert is the president of Flatiron Pictures which specializes in producing independent feature films throughout the Southwest. Prior to that she interned for director Ron Howard and was the VP of Julia Robert’s Shoelace Productions in NYC. She has been a faculty member at both Fordham University and The School of Visual Arts in NYC and is on the Advisory Board of the SXSW Film Festival and a Board Member of the Austin Film Society. She splits her time between NYC and Austin, TX.


Ross Richie is an American comic book publisher, the founder of Boom! Studios, film producer, television producer, and comic book creator. The New York Times has profiled Richie and his company twice. 20th Century Fox production president Emma Watts called Richie’s company “a publishing powerhouse devoted to original, innovative storytelling and world-class artists” and named it an “IP mega-library”. The Wall Street Journal cited the Boom! Studios movie Richie produced, “2 Guns” starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, a “successful adaptation’ and featured Boom! Studios in their article on the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International.] Richie is a five-time publisher of New York Times best-sellers Mouse Guard the Adventure Time graphic novels, Lumberjanes, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser graphic novels and Irredeemable.


Micheal Flaherty is the co-founder of Walden Media, which produced 30 films since its origin in 2000, grossing more than $3.5 billion in worldwide box office including “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, “The Giver,” “Charlotte’s Web” and the “Journey to the Center of the Earth” franchise. Prior to founding Walden Media in 2001, Flaherty designed innovative curricula in the Boston Public School System, which captured national attention from The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe. He designed the curriculum and taught for the Steppingstone Magnet Program for students in the worst public school cluster in Boston. As an author, Flaherty has been published in National Review, The Boston Business Journal and American Spectator. He also worked as a speechwriter for William Bulger, former President of the Massachusetts Senate, and Tom Reilly, the Massachusetts Attorney General. Flaherty is a graduate of Tufts University.


Francis X. “Chip” Flaherty heads up Walden Media’s publishing division, Walden Pond Press. As Publisher, Flaherty has the opportunity to read the literary submissions of some of the best children’s authors in the world, so he is well prepared for his service here. Under Flaherty’s stewardship, Walden Media has published many successful book titles, including Savvy, a New York Times Bestseller and 2009 Newbery Honor book, and Cosmic, the best reviewed children’s book of 2010. A former litigator, Flaherty looks forward to serving as a judge and reading essays from some of America’s next generation of leaders.


Ron Hall is an international art dealer whose long list of regular clients includes many celebrity personalities. He is the writer and producer of the Paramount Pictures film, Same Kind of Different As Me. An MBA graduate of Texas Christian University, he and his wife Beth divide their time between Dallas, New York, and their Brazos River ranch near Fort Worth.


GRAMMY nominated producer, Joe Scaife was born in the Mississippi / Arkansas Delta and moved to Nashville, Tennessee as a child. He was influence by musical talents from a very early age, with Southern Rock being perhaps the most prevalent in his productions. He is the son of Music Row Pioneer, Cecil Scaife who was the visionary behind the beginnings of the Music Business Program at Belmont College. It is now known as The Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. Joe attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee while getting hands on experience at the control board of his dad’s Hall of Fame Recording Studio. Scaife has an ear for finding talent and has catapulted many new artists to the top of the charts. He is known in Music City as an artist’s ‘break out ‘ Producer. He produced Billy Ray Cyrus’ chart breaking hit “Achy Breaky Heart”, Gretchen Wilson’s “Red Neck Woman”, Montgomery Gentry’s albums “Tatoos and Scars” and “Carrying On”, and produced KT Oslin’s “80’s Lady”. Scaife has worked with Lionel Richey, Anne Murray, The Pointer Sisters, Charlie Daniels, and many other great artists. He is married and has two children and resides in Williamson County near Nashville.


Peter Flaherty is a co-founder and principal of The Shawmut Group, a public affairs and strategy consulting group based in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Flaherty is a former Assistant District Attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston where he investigated and prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases and was a prosecutor in the homicide unit. After leaving the District Attorney’s office, Flaherty became Vice President of Walden Media, a film production studio, dedicated to the development of family friendly films. At Walden, Flaherty was director of partnerships and alliances and head of Walden’s IMAX division. Notable Walden projects include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Holes, Charlotte’s Web, and James Cameron’s Ghosts of the Abyss. In 2003, Flaherty went to work for newly-elected Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, where he was Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser on constitutional issues, criminal justice, bioethics and judicial selection. On the Romney presidential campaign, Flaherty was Deputy Campaign Manager in charge of coalition building and the liaison to the faith community. Mr. Flaherty serves on the Board of Trustees at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, The Ally Foundation, and The Suffolk County Children’s Advocacy Center. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, and received a Juris Doctorate from New England School of Law.


Marc Theissen is an American author, columnist and political commentator. He served as a speechwriter for United States President George W. Bush (2004–2009) and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (2001–2004). Thiessen’s articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, USA Today and other publications. He has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, NPR, and other media outlets.


Gary Dixon is the President of The Foundation for a Better Life. He formerly served as vice president of Bonneville Communications where he directed the creative development of many successful campaigns, including Homefront, Major League Baseball, Children’s Miracle Network and the American Cancer Society. He has also been a speaker at regional and national advertising conferences for the American Advertising Federation and a keynote speaker for various events. Gary has a master’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University and a bachelor’s in broadcasting from Texas Tech University


Jim Miller is an expert on various public policy issues, including federal/state regulatory programs, industrial organization, antitrust, intellectual property, general litigation, fiscal finance, tax structure, federal/state spending, deficits, public choice, campaign finance, and the effects of various laws and regulations on the overall economy. From October 1985 to October 1988, Miller was Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, was a member of President Reagan’s Cabinet, and was a member of the National Security Council. From October 1981 to October 1985, he was Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. And from January 1981 to October 1981, he was Administrator for Information and Regulatory Affairs at OMB, where, among other things, he helped to establish and administer President Reagan’s program of regulatory relief


As a speaker, poet and photographer, Karla’s work spans many subjects and forms. She is a Betsy Colquitt Award Winner, Eric Hoffer Award Winner, Montaigne Medal Finalist, a two-time Indie Book Award Winner, a North Texas Book Festival Award winner, a nominee for the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Widely published in literary journals, she is also the author of twelve books of poetry, including the award-winning Redefining Beauty (now in its 3rd printing), Constant State of Leaping and Accidental Origami. A traveling photography/poetry exhibit and book, No End of Vision: Texas as Seen by Two Laureates, features Ms. Morton’s black and white photographs combined with poems written by fellow Texas Poet Laureate Alan Birkelbach. Her latest project is a 3-year Words of Preservation National Parks Tour and her latest book, Wooden Lions, is the ultimate animal lovers’ book.


Bruce Cole is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His areas of expertise include the teaching of American history and civics, and private and federal cultural policy. Mr. Cole, the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is the author of fourteen books and numerous articles. Mr. Cole served as a delegate on the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on the boards of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Norman Rockwell Museum, and as a Senate-appointed member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. He is currently a member of the boards of American Heritage and the Jack Miller Center. In 2010, Mr. Cole was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels to a three-year term on Indiana University’s Board of Trustees. In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Mr. Cole the Presidential Citizens Medal “for his work to strengthen our national memory and ensure that our country’s heritage is passed on to future generations.” The medal is second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom among the honors the President can confer upon a civilian. Also in 2008, Mr. Cole was decorated Knight of the Grand Cross, the highest honor of the Republic of Italy. In August 2013, Mr. Cole was appointed by President Barack Obama to be a member of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.


Phil Taylor’s is the founder and artists of the American Fallen Soldiers Project With a deep conviction to bring comfort and hope to the mourning families of our fallen military, The American Fallen Soldiers Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, provides at no cost to the family an exquisitely framed original portrait of their fallen loved one that fully captures their appearance and personality. Upon completion, it is personally presented by Phil Taylor during a special event designed to honor the Fallen, honor the family, and involve the community.


Sherry O. Watters is an artist in Weatherford Texas who hand paints apparel. She began selling her artwork at the prompting of her husband Dennis in 1987. It began with five painted shirts and a few crafts, but quickly outgrew the little space in her husband’s Insurance office. Over the years, her renown expanded and now celebrities, entertainers, and special people from around the world make their way to her “one of a kind” boutique, where original works of art, of startling beauty, are painted upon wearing apparel, including hand painting and adding crystals to your own boots! Sherry O’, paints each piece by hand with great artistic care.


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Amber Hodge, 19, is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina. She loves making music. She makes it electronically composed from the piano. Another passion of Amber’s is animals: She volunteers at an animal shelter and is studying to become a veterinarian. Amber is ready to take advantage of all America has to offer on her road to becoming a veterinarian and thereafter. She loves hanging out with her friends and going to the beach in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.


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Natalie Cuzmenco, 19, is from Charlotte, North Carolina and is a sophomore at Elon University. There, she is an Odyssey Scholar, a member of Sigma Kappa sorority, and is in the process of founding a chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. She is majoring in Economics and minoring in Political Science and Spanish. She realized her passion for politics and the Constitution during the 2008 election.


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Best College Speech: Jonathan Ludwig, 20, was born in Ankara, Turkey, and is in the middle of his junior year at Bob Jones University in his hometown of Greenville, SC. He enjoys extra-curricular activities such as debate, mock trial, and student legislature and has held various leadership positions with those organizations. Jonathan plans to pursue a career in criminal law and hopes to become politically active in campaign leadership.


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Best College PSA: Nic Downs, 20, is from Dana Point, California. He will begin his junior year this fall at Point Loma Nazarene University in Southern California. He loves writing, foreign languages, people, and cultures, and always searches for ways to learn more in these areas. Excelling in Italian and French, he has tutored at Saddleback College and has also worked privately, teaching Italian to missionaries bound for Italy. He has participated in mission trips to Spain, Africa, and the Caribbean, along with family expeditions throughout the world. Over the last few years, Nic has taken a keen interest in politics, and is especially passionate about the Constitution and the issues that threaten its existence. In addition, he recently attended the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington, D.C.


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Best High School PSA: Danielle Ragin, 16, born on Constitution Day, is a junior attending high school in Plainview, New York. She is active in and out of school as a member of many clubs and plays varsity soccer and lacrosse for her high school and town. Civic minded, Dani participates in many community service and charitable events. Most recently, she created an organization called “Be the Change” to help people in homeless shelters in New York City.


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Best High School Short Film: Spencer Kolssak, 15, is a homeschooled sophomore who lives in Winnetka, Illinois with his mom, dad, and three brothers. Spencer is actively involved in his Boy Scout troop, writes science fiction, and loves to make films. He also has a new interest in speech and debate. He enjoys studying the history of America and God’s role in the founding of this nation.


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Best High School Song: Kori Caswell, 17, is from Hannibal, Missouri, made famous in the writings of Mark Twain. She is a senior at Hannibal High School where she is active in the music department and drum major of the marching band. Kori is well known in her community for her work with literacy, history, the arts council and her church. She is very proud of her accomplishments as a bassist for the Quincy Symphony Orchestra. Kori plans on attending Belmont University in Nashville next fall.


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Best High School Essay: Hannah Leffingwell, 17, lives in Centennial, Colorado. Next year, she will pursue her intellectual interests at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she plans to double major in English and French. She enjoys cooking, sewing, writing, and spending time with her family and friends. Hannah hopes to become a novelist after graduating from college.

Read Essay Here.


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Best Middle School Song: Emily Keener, 12, has been homeschooled since the 2nd grade. She plays the guitar and piano. She has a passion for music and singing and hopes to have a career as a singer/songwriter. When she’s not performing or practicing, she’s playing softball, learning martial arts or reading. Her favorite school subjects include American and World History. She lives in Wakeman, Ohio with her a younger sister and brother and her parents.


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Best Middle School Essay: Bailey Gabel, 11, is from LaFayette, Colorado and a ranch girl at heart! She lives on a working ranch with her parents and younger sister. Hobbies include singing, showing livestock in 4-H and competing in Little Britches Rodeo. Her favorite saying is “American by birth and Cowgirl by the grace of God.”

Read Essay Here.


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Best Poem (grades 3-5): Jeffrey Pistor, 11, is a homeschooled 6th grader from Colleyville, Texas. He is very close with his older brother and younger sister. He has a great love for nature and animals and enjoys monthly campouts with his Boy Scout Troop. He recently achieved 1st Class Rank on his way to Eagle. Jeffrey is an official greeter at his church and he also plays the piano, is studying Jiu-Jitsu, and devotes time to Bible Study Fellowship with his father.

Read Poem Here.


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Best Poem (grades K-2): Myra Vicchrilli, 8, was born in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, and now lives in Wiggins, Colorado. She loves animals. Myra has a horse named Tippsy; two dogs, Dice and Duke; and six cats named Kelsey, Rummy, Sasha, Clide, Molly and Macey. She has a two-year-old sister named Kellie that she adores, and loves to go to the horse races where her daddy is a jockey.

Read Poem Here.


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Best Artwork (grades K-2): Emma Harrison, 8, lives in Corinth, Texas with her parents, older sister Abbey, and two cats. Emma is an outgoing, friendly brown haired, brown eyed, left-handed third grader. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, swimming, camping, sailing, drawing, taking piano lessons, and attending church. Emma is proud of the official Texas State Cupcake, Butter Pecan, because it was created by her classmate’s mom. Emma loves Jesus and has a heart as big as Texas!

View Artwork Here.


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Best Emblem (grades 3-5): Hollie Elliott, 10, is a native of beautiful and busy Bentonville, Arkansas. She enjoys walking nature trails with her parents, her brother, and their dog. She is a 5th grader at RH Barker Middle School, where her favorite subjects are reading, PE, and math. She has fun riding bikes with friends. She loves her church, and is involved in Bible quizzing. Hollie is a patriot, learning a little more every day about the greatness of the USA.

View Emblem Here.


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Matthew McNey, 21, was born in Columbia, MD; however, he was raised in College Park, Burtonsville and Laurel. As a product of the American Dream he was instilled with strong religious convictions, hard work and dedication. He was not born into a rich family; his was a family best characterized as middle class, a family battling with drug addiction and alcoholism. Matthew goes to school and works full time with plans to go to Harvard Law and Harvard Business School to earn a JD and MBA, and to become a corporate attorney. He has been involved in politics since he was 13. He joined the Democratic Party when he was 16, and eventually became the President of the Maryland Federation of College Democrats.


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Kori Caswell, 18, Best College Song Winner, is from Hannibal, Missouri, made famous in the writings of Mark Twain. She is now a freshman at Belmont University in Nashville, TN where she is a commercial double Bass major. Kori is in the honors program and is in the university’s symphony. Kori is well known in her home community with her work with literacy, history, the arts council and her church. Upon graduation, Kori plans to pursue a career as a professional musician.


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Kenthia Farmer, 19, Best College Short Film Winner, is a sophomore from Memphis, TN. Her parents are Kenneth and Cynthia Farmer. Growing up in Memphis allowed her to be introduced, consistently, to so much history: from music to civil rights. Kenthia loves retelling history in various and creative ways using her artistic skills she acquired from her performing arts high school, Overton High. She currently attends the University of Miami. There, she studies business in hopes to become a successful entrepreneur upon graduation. Kenthia also minors in motion pictures.


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Shelby Seymore, 19, Best College PSA Winner, has begun her sophomore year at Angelo State University this fall. She enjoys video production, art such as drawing and painting, reading about US history, and actively discussing the issues of the day. She is currently studying a major in Communications, specializing in Radio/TV/Film. She first began video editing when she was in seventh grade at Jayton ISD. Shelby aspires to have a career as a director, and her own show that includes teaching history, while relating it to current events.


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Jacob Schliesman, 18, Best High School PSA Winner, is beginning his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, studying Media Arts and Game Development. Jacob was homeschooled in Kenosha, WI for over ten years, and took private drawing and animation lessons for about six years. He enjoys comic books, roleplaying games, and working on animation. Jacob hopes to one day work for a national gaming company.


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Chasity Cagle, 17, Best High School Short Film Winner, is a native of Valdosta, Georgia. She attends Lowndes High School and presides over the SkillsUSA chapter where she competes in video production. Chasity is also involved in the community through Moody Air Force Base Youth Programs, a center for military teens. She hopes to become a speech pathologist and continue her video editing skills in college.


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Colton Hinderliter, 16, Best High School Short Film Winner, lives in Marietta, Georgia and attends Keystone National Online High School. He is active in the arts of all sorts, from performing on stage to writing screenplays and poetry. He is an intern at the historic Earl Smith Strand Theatre working in arts administration. He also volunteers his time at his old elementary and middle schools’ drama clubs. Colton is very happy to combine his love of history and filmmaking in his first film.


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Annie Nirschel, 17, Best High School Song Winner, is a senior at the Academy of Information, Technology and Engineering in Stamford, Connecticut. Her interests include film production, art, and musical composition. She plays the piano, guitar, ukulele and banjo. Annie has been singing for years; her first performance was the National Anthem at a Bridgeport Bluefish minor league baseball game in Connecticut when she was 7. She sang in front of 15,000 people at Battery Park in Manhattan for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and for over a million people at the 2011 “Salute to Israel” parade, also in Manhattan. Annie has done voice over work for Blue Jean Teddy and College For the past two years she has worked as a student reporter for “” an online local news service in Stamford, Connecticut. Annie lives at home with her parents, brothers, two sisters and three yappy dogs.


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Brooke Wade, 17, Best High School Essay Winner, is a homeschooled senior from Tampa, Florida. She has a passion for American providential history and the Constitution and aspires to be a constitutional lawyer. Over the past two years, she has actively participated in moot court competitions, arguing 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendment issues and achieving Best Petitioner Oralist and Semifinalist at the Washington College of Law competition. She participates in speech and debate at the national level, placing and achieving three National titles in Extemporaneous and Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Brooke loves reading books on political theory and history.

Read Essay Here.


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Jessie Liz Clement, 13, Best Middle School Song Winner, is a musically gifted singer-songwriter from Lafayette, Tennessee. She is the youngest of four children and is homeschooled through Classical Conversations’ Challenge program. Self-taught on the guitar, piano, ukulele, and mandolin, Jessie writes songs about life and the world around her. Her debut album, “Hey World,” was released in 2011 and new songs can be heard at Jessie’s Creator has definitely blessed her with special musical talents and she seeks to honor Him and bless others with the gifts she’s been given. Besides music, Jessie enjoys hunting, arts and crafts, and playing on a volleyball team.


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Evelyn Hanks, 14, Best Middle School Essay Winner, is a homeschooled student from Garner, NC. Evelyn enjoys reading, creative writing, piano and guitar. She is involved in debate club. Other hobbies include bead work, duct tape crafts, and crochet. Evelyn has one older sister and one younger brother. She is active in her church, where she is a volunteer in the children’s ministry. Evelyn’s favorite subjects at her homeschool co-op are Science and Shakespearean Drama.

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Bethany Cooksey, 11, Best Poem Winner, Grades 3-5, lived in Japan as the daughter of missionaries until the age of five, when her family moved to beautiful McMinnville, Oregon. She was born in Nagasaki on the island of Kyushu and is the fifth of eight happy homeschooled children. She loves Bible Bee, Antonin Dvorak’s music, reading, singing in the church choir, drawing, playing with her baby brother, cooking, sewing, writing, piano, and cello.


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Abigail Olschewski, 7, Best Poem Winner, Grades K-2, just started the second grade at Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning. She lives with her parents and two older brothers in the beautiful little town of Brigham City about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City in the mountains of Utah. She loves to read, sing, whistle, and make art projects. She is a Brownie in the Girl Scouts and active in her church. She loves to play outside, and with her friends.

Read Poem Here.


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Preity Chavan, 9, Best Artwork Winner, is a social and fun loving 4th grader at Crabapple Crossing Elementary School in Peach State- Alpharetta, Georgia. She lives with her parents and her older sister. Preity likes to sing, dance and ride her bike. Her favorite subjects at school are Math, Science, Music and Art. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano. Preity loves to play and sing patriotic songs including the Star Spangled Banner. Her favorite song is “This land is your land, this land is my land……”.


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Bobbie Bramlett, 82, Best Senior Essay Winner, is a native of Oklahoma. She and her husband, Bill, have lived in Colorado the past six years. She is active in her local P.E.O. Chapter, plays mahjong, and likes to walk and play golf. Bobbie’s great granddaughter, Halley Moak, was a Constituting America winner in 2010, and inspired her to learn about the Constitution!

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Gayle Poole, Best Short Film Winner, Adult Category, was born in Houston, Texas. Gayle is the mom to four adult children and the Mamie to three wonderful grandkids. She works with the primary children’s organization in her church and is taking sign language classes at the local junior college. She loves reading history, doing photo collage art, gardening, and dancing with her husband of 34 years. She is a happy Texan and an appreciative American!

Nathan Poole, 25, Best Short Film Winner, Adult Category, is studying biology at the University of Texas at Tyler. He plans on studying genetics and then ultimately attending medical school. He is participating in a study of turtle and leech relationships, and is beginning to conduct a research project on salamander regeneration. He also spends time shadowing physicians in preparation for future schooling. He is involved in the community through church service projects and volunteering at the local zoo. He and his new wife teach a youth Sunday School class together. They enjoy traveling, camping, and enjoying the outdoors any chance they get.



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Justis Ward, 18, Best College Song Winner, is from Douglasville, Georgia. He is a Freshman at Mercer University and is currently on a Pre-Med track. He recently graduated from Central High School, where he was MVP on his Varsity Basketball Team and Student Body President. Along with his high school activities, he volunteered over 3000 hours at a local afterschool program and summer camp. However, despite his busy schedule, he always finds time to write and compose music, as playing his guitar and singing are two of his favorite pastimes.



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Micah Edwards, 18, Best College Song Winner, lives in Houston, Texas. Currently, a junior at the University of Houston, he is part of the Bauer School of Business and pitches for the university’s baseball team. Along with his sister, he is also the co-founder, pianist, and lead singer of the locally popular Jazz/Pop group LEYBON (pronounced lay-bun). His future goals include becoming a major league pitcher and then eventually moving on to the front office of a major league sports franchise.



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Thomas Cooke, 20, Best College Speech Winner, is originally from Hastings, Nebraska. He is beginning his junior year at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where he is an editor for the school newspaper’s opinion section, Chair of Cornell’s College Republicans chapter, and a competitor on the Mock Trial team. His mother teaches English as a second language to elementary school children and his father is a professor of math and computer science at Hastings College. Thomas’ older brother is in pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. Thomas has been interested in writing, public speaking, and current events from a very young age and enjoys opportunities to get involved in politics at every level.



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Amanda Tesarek, 19, Best College Short Film Winner, is from Superior, Wisconsin, and attends Columbia University in New York City. She is currently a sophomore, and plans to pursue a double major in biochemistry and political science and a minor in Arabic language. Her extracurricular activities have included student government, newspaper, and improvisational comedy. Amanda was especially inspired to enter this contest after attending the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls State and Girls Nation programs, which taught her the importance of patriotism and appreciating those who serve in the armed forces.



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Emily Carnevale, 19, Best College PSA Winner, has begun her sophomore year at Denison University. She enjoys video production, art and discussing political and social issues. She especially enjoys writing and performing original slam poetry and is now an established poet on stage and in print. Through her powerful performances and films, Emily has been able to effectively communicate her message to audiences. She became interested in filmography when her father inspired her by making his own documentary. She has been filming and editing documentaries, PSAs, and short films since she was a sophomore at Centennial HS. Emily is double majoring in Cinema and English and aims to pursue a career that combines writing and video production.



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Nicole Reed, 17, Best High School PSA Winner, is from Oak Lawn, Illinois and is a senior attending Harold L. Richards High School. She is currently involved in her school and community in many ways. She is Class President, a varsity cheerleader, a leader in her school Bible club, a member of the senior leadership program, and a member of the Peer Mediation club – as well as being involved in many volunteering organizations such as the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society. Also, she volunteer coaches a Jr. High competitive cheerleading team. Nicole had a lot of fun creating the PSA, and feels so blessed to be awarded this opportunity. She greatly enjoyed learning and informing others about the Constitution and, in the future, hopes to study corporate law.



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Colton Hinderliter, 17, Best High School PSA Winner, lives in Marietta, GA and is currently a senior at Keystone National High School. Colton won last year’s Constituting America We the People 9.17 Contest in the Best High School Short Film category. Colton is actively involved in the arts in his community and is a professional dancer with the Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre. Colton will continue his love of dance in the future as he is currently applying to colleges across the Southern United States as a Dance major.



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Josef Junek, (pronounced: YOU-nek), 15, Best High School Short Film Winner, currently lives in Rosenberg, Texas, U.S.A., North America, Planet Earth, with his parents, three sisters, one brother, numerous pets, and the occasional door-to-door vacuum salesman. He is home-schooled, which allows him and his brother plenty of time to experiment with making other short films. In addition to being a filmmaker, Josef is also a professional clown, unprofessional cartoonist, and has written one unpublished novel. He hopes to become a professional filmmaker someday, though would prefer not to work on anymore projects which require him to stand upside-down in a trashcan.



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Kory Shore, 16, Best High School Song Winner, hails from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He’s been musical his entire life — a drummer at 3-years old, piano and singing at 6, and composing at 12. His first music video, “Crying for America” went viral and was featured on several national news outlets. He’s passionate about freedom and his music and often will weave Constitutional themes into his lyrics. Currently, he’s recording a number of new songs, and just released his latest music video, “Don’t Be Afraid (to Cry)” on YouTube, a song written in memory of one of his classmates who was killed tragically in a car accident a few days before school ended. Kory attends Episcopal Academy. He’s a serious wrestler, runner, and snowboarder. His website is



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Caroline Clauson, 16, Best High School Essay Winner, is a resident of Xenia, Ohio and is a student at Xenia Christian School. She has studied classical violin for seven years and enjoys playing fiddle music on her violin and mandolin. Caroline runs track and cross-country and participates in choir and orchestra. This semester she is being home-schooled while her family lives in Washington, D.C. where her father is temporarily working. Caroline is thinking of pursuing a career in journalism following high school.


Read Essay Here.


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Jessie Liz Clement, 14, Best Middle School Song Winner, is a musically gifted singer-songwriter from Lafayette, Tennessee. She is the youngest of four children and is home-schooled through Classical Conversations’ Challenge program. Jessie was honored to be Constituting America’s Best Middle School Song winner in 2012 and, in turn, had the high honor of singing at the SBA List “Campaign for Life Gala” in Washington D.C earlier this year. Self-taught on the guitar, piano, ukulele, and mandolin, Jessie writes songs about life and love from the heart of innocence. Her newest album, “Runaway Adventure” with 13 new songs written by Jessie and produced by Nashville session singer Russell Terrell, was released in August, 2013, and can be found on iTunes or at Besides music, Jessie enjoys hunting, arts and crafts, and playing on a local varsity volleyball team.



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Tiffany Curtis, 15, Best Middle School Essay Winner, resides in Smithville, Ohio. Since Preschool she has gone to Wooster Christian School, and will now go on to Smithville High School. Her favorite subjects are Reading, Art, and History. She served as Student Council President during her 8th grade year at Wooster Christian. Tiffany has one older sister and two supportive and loving parents. Her favorite activities include reading, listening to music, playing with her dog, and spending time with friends. Tiffany hopes to honor and bring praise to God through whatever she is putting her heart into.


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Lindsay Culpepper, 11, Best Poem Winner, lives in Maylene, AL, just south of Birmingham. She is a sixth grader at Evangel Classical Christian School, where she enjoys studying science, Latin, and history. In her free time, she likes reading, writing, art, horseback riding, and playing basketball. An animal lover, she has attended Zoo Camp at the Birmingham Zoo each summer for the past four years. She recently started serving in the children’s ministry at her church, assisting with the children’s worship service. In the future she hopes to become a writer, a nature photographer, or a veterinarian.

Read Poem Here.


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Grace Canales, 7, Best Artwork Winner, lives in Corpus Christi, Texas with her parents, older sister Becca, and younger brother Michael. School is cool for Grace as a 2nd grade scholar at Luther Jones Elementary. Three recent achievements include her being the Top Accelerated Reader in her class, earning 2nd place in the 2013 Law Day Poster Contest, and having among the “best tasting” recipes for the Chamber of Commerce Lemonade Day Contest! She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing soccer and swimming. Grace loves Jesus and His Blessed mother Mary and has a heart as big as Texas!

View Artwork Here.


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Maryem Bouatlaoui, 10, Best Emblem Winner, is a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born in Morocco. Maryem attends Henry W. Lawton Elementary School. She is involved in a lot of afterschool programs like The Choir Club, Patriots Club and Environmental Club. Maryem also enjoys drawing and hopes to become a doctor when she grows up.

See Emblem Here.


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Ron Meier, 71, Best Senior Essay Winner, moved to Cumming Georgia from Colorado in 2011 to be near two grandchildren. He retired after a career in investment analysis & management, personal finance, accounting, banking, and financial education, during which time he authored many articles and seminars for adult learners. Volunteering in his church and community, studying history, traveling, writing, and especially spending time with his family now occupy much of Ron’s daily time. Ron grew up in Ohio and lived in Texas, where his three children were born and two have returned to live. He is a graduate of West Point, an Army Vietnam Veteran, and earned both CPA and CFA designations during his business career. Ron leads a Constituting America Patriot Club in Cumming; its members work with teachers and students to encourage students to compete in contests which help them learn more about American history, culture, and heritage.

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Justin Dietrich, 28, Best Grad/Law College Speech Winner, is a native of Bluffdale, Utah, but has also lived in California and Russia. He is a father of three and a second year master’s student at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Justin is pursuing a Master of Engineering degree with an emphasis in hydraulics and water resources. He loves the field of engineering because of the practical problem-solving aspects of it. This is the same reason he is passionate about history and political theory which are crucial to first understanding, and then addressing the folly in humanity. He reveres the Constitution of the United States of America as the best formulation for preserving freedom and happiness in society. Justin loves sports (especially basketball), but admits that playing them has taken a back seat to roughhousing with his kids. He is honored to be chosen as this year’s winner and is grateful for the unwavering support of his beautiful wife, Rachel, and wonderful kids, Elayna, Bethany, and Jack.


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Joy Frost, 22, Best College Song Winner, is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently lives in Germany where she is studying music production. She is working hard at establishing herself as an independent songwriter abroad and hopes to one day soon have her work appear in film, TV, and on the radio.


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James Booker, 22, Best College Song Winner, is a native of Portland, Michigan. He attends Belmont University as an audio engineering technology major and has interned for Soundcheck Nashville and Station West Studios. James has been involved in his local community arts council and has performed music for three Relay For Life events in Michigan. He is pursuing a career in country music performance.


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Brothers Domingo and Esteban Hiracheta (ages 23 and 19, respectively), Best College Song Winners, were born in Corpus Christi, Texas – four years apart, to the day and hour. Both now attend Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi where Domingo is a Computer Science major and Esteban is an Environmental Science major. They are music ministers for Islander Catholic, a growing Catholic student organization located on campus. They also make their own music as “Fire and Flame.” You can visit their website at


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Isaiah Jackson, 18, Best College Song Winner, is from Chicago, Illinois. Isaiah is a poet, hip hop artist and songwriter. He grew up with four brothers and spiritual parents who taught him the love of God, and this is what instilled in him to write music for the people especially those who went through some hardship in their life. He was the first place winner in a Chicago area music competition judged by professional music industry producers who worked with the likes of Kanye West, Beyoncé, John Legend, and Lupe Fiasco. His favorite type of performance is spoken word because it forces you to listen to his words and to understand them. When he isn’t making poetry about the ongoing current issues facing our society, he enjoys to make comical songs.


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Jewel Gilbert, 20, Best College Speech Winner, is from Easton, Pennsylvania and a Freshman at Muhlenberg College. He is extremely grateful to have had his speech chosen as the Winner of Constituting America. Jewel has three passions: To serve God, play football, and perform with Sing For America. Sing for America is a charitable group founded by the Gilbert family in 2005. Performing up to 80 performances a year, stretching from Memphis to Maine, they do it to show appreciation for the Military families sacrificing so much for us. In 2011, Sing For America evolved as an entity striving to bring light and truth to the community through the arts in many different ways. Sing For America Productions was born, and since has done 8 Broadway style musicals incorporating professional and amateur talent under the slogan “The Arts Are Color Blind.” Out of the 224 cast members involved with SFAP, half of them are minorities. Many of the actors had their very first experience on stage with us. Sing For America has been able to donate over $40,000 to help military families in need by paying rent, heating bills, food, whatever they may need.


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Cambria Magnuson, 19, Best College Short Film Winner, is from Fort Collins, Colorado. She discovered her passion for videography in her junior year video production class taught by Ron Clark at Rocky Mountain High School. She has used her skills to shoot weddings, sporting events and other miscellaneous projects. In addition to her passion for videography, Cambria also has a passion for running. Currently, she attends Colorado Christian University where she runs track and cross-country and is pursuing a degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in history.


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Jessica Mulder, 20, Best College PSA Winner, is from Williamsburg, Michigan and a sophomore majoring in government at Patrick Henry College. Currently, her plan is to focus on education and economic policy. She believes that the American government is a reflection of its citizens, and is passionate about creating an educational environment where American students can grow in respect for the past, responsibility for the present, and skills for the future. Jessica began carrying her video camera everywhere at age 10 and still enjoys filming and editing. Her other hobbies include running, biking, enjoying the lakes and snow in Michigan, and spending time with her family. She is actively involved in her church and especially enjoys working in the children’s ministry. She looks forward to seeing how her love of people, education, government, and God will direct her future career path.


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Laura Leigh Hicks, 18, Best High School PSA Winner, is a native of Steens, Mississippi. She is a home educated student and serves as president of her homeschool group’s chapter of the Eta Sigma Alpha Honor Society. Laura Leigh looks forward to attending Mississippi State University next fall (where she was recently accepted into the Shackouls Honors College), majoring in art with an emphasis in graphic design.


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Melissa Woodford, 17, and Kelly Woodford, 15, Best High School PSA Winners, are sisters who live in New City, New York and homeschooled. They both love singing for the Lord and are actively involved in a Christian Ministry Chorale that will be touring in Hungary next spring. In addition, Melissa and Kelly both take pleasure in public speaking, having competed at the National level in persuasive speaking and duo interpretation in the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association. They are also both founders of their local homeschool Media Club, where they create and edit news videos about neighboring social events. With a love for acting and dancing, the girls are also members in Christian Youth Theatre and have won first place singing and dancing at New York’s Dutchess County Fair. Melissa is considering a degree in communications, and Kelly hopes to maybe become a writer or a teacher, but they are both optimistic about wherever God leads them in the near future.


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Frank Boudon, 17, Best High School PSA Winner, is a senior at Troy High School in Troy, Michigan. He is an avid filmmaker, working on productions for his school district’s cable crew as well as independent projects. Frank’s other interests include politics and service; he is president of his school’s Model United Nations delegation and National Honor Society, and has worked on several political campaigns. After high school, he plans to study business and politics at the University of Michigan, possibly leading to a career in law. Frank also hopes to continually improve his video production skills as film will always be, at the very least, a hobby.


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Laney Kraus-Taddeo, 17, Best High School Short Film Winner, lives in Park Ridge, Illinois, and is currently a senior at Maine South High School. She has worked as a professional actress since the age of nine, appearing in both live theater productions and short films. In high school she discovered a love of video and film production and has written, conceptualized, shot, directed and edited numerous short films, and has also directed live sports broadcasts and performing arts presentations. Proud to be this year’s short film winner, Laney is also an award-winning writer and editor with her high school newspaper, is the Boys Varsity Basketball video coordinator, and is active in her community. She will be attending college in the Fall of 2015 and plans on pursuing a double major in film production and theater


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Kory Shore, 17, Best High School Song Winner, hails from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He is a singer, songwriter and gifted musician with talent and charisma. Kory began playing drums at age 3. (See the video.), break dancing at 4, piano at 6, singing at 8, and started writing music at age 12. He’s now 16 and ready for the world to hear his uniquely mature point of view as expressed through his music. He’s currently being produced by Top 10 Producer, Kurt Shore. His first music video, “Crying for America” garnered national attention striking some controversy with its patriotic theme, and was interviewed on news outlets around the country. Stay tuned and subscribe to hear more. Kory is a runner and snowboarder. Hobbies include airsoft, photography, and of course, video games.


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Sophia Maggio, 16, Best High School Essay Winner, is a resident of Everett, Washington, and a student at the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA). She has played select soccer for seven years and is a captain of her high school cross country team. She loves art and spends most of her free time drawing, reading, and writing. Sophia is the oldest of four children and owns several pets, including a cat and two dogs. She is the co-president of her high school community service club, and enjoys doing volunteer activities with animals, kids, and the elderly. While Sophia has not yet decided what career path she will pursue in college, she has considered becoming a clinical anaplastologist and a medical illustrator.

Read Essay Here.


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Rosalva (Rosie) Cruz Hernandez, 15, Best Middle School Essay Winner, is from Bonita Springs, Florida. Rosie is an eighth grader at Bonita Springs Middle Center for the Arts. As a sixth grader, Rosie received the Take Stock in Children’s Scholarship which will pay for her tuition to any Florida state college. Rosie has attended and been actively involved with New Horizons of Southwest Florida, an afterschool tutoring and mentoring program, since first grade where she also sings in the Super Kids Choir. Through New Horizons, Rosie has participated in several volunteer activities in her community. Rosie is active in her church and is part of the worship team. Rosie has been on the A/B Honor Roll every semester in middle school. After graduating from high school, Rosie would like to attend Florida Gulf Coast University and pursue a career as a social worker. Rosie wants to be able to help children who have suffered abuse.

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Anya Ambarish, 10, Best Elementary School Poem Winner, lives in Dulles, Virginia. She goes to Rosa Lee Carter Elementary school and is in the fifth grade. Her favorite subject at school is reading, and she also enjoys science and social studies. She is passionate about poetry, writing, reading, tennis, basketball and ping-pong. Many of her short stories and poems have been published in various books and websites. She aspires to become a lawyer or a writer.

View Poem Here


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James Corley Sanders, 10, Best Elementary School Artwork Winner, lives in Trout, Louisiana. He is an honor student in the 5th grade at Fellowship Elementary, where he participates in the gifted enrichment program. He is currently serving as Vice President of the 4-H Club. He is a member of the 4-H Competitive Shooting Sports Team, an active member of Cub Scouts, plays baseball, soccer, and basketball. James serves as his church offertory assistant. In his free time he enjoys playing piano, chess, reading, drawing, writing, and fishing. He also enjoys spending time with his loving and supportive grandparents. Recent achievements include winning first place in the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association junior essay contest, placing second in the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association Photography contest, and being selected as the 5th grade student of the year for his school. James had a lot of fun creating his artwork, and feels so blessed to be awarded this opportunity. He hopes to honor and bring praise to God through whatever he is putting his heart into. In the future, James plans to study medicine.

View Artwork Here.


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For thirty years as a school teacher, Nancy K. Arnold, shared her love of America and its history with her students. Though now retired, she continues to share this love through the children’s books she writes. Her goals continue to be to excite children about American history, and to help insure that they understand the values upon which our country was founded. To that end, she is often found presenting a program in a school or civic organization, dressed as Martha Washington or a pioneer woman. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has recognized her for her contributions to children’s books on American history, and she has also been given their Women in the Arts Award. Her book, Patriotic Pups, won the Arizona Glyph Award, and in 2015 she received a Silver Will Rogers Medallion Award for Pioneer Pups. In 2011 she was honored to receive the Arizona Federation of Republican Women Teacher of the Year Award. She is thrilled to be the Senior Essay Award winner from Constituting America, and to represent such a wonderful organization. Nancy and her husband enjoy activities with their four grandchildren, as well as sailing on their sailboat off the southern California coast. She is presently in the early stages of writing her third book, and it looks like she will be in need of a Pilgrim costume for future school visits!

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Joy Frost, 23, second time Best College Song Winner, is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently is studying abroad in Germany, majoring in music production. She is working hard at establishing herself as an independent songwriter and has signed several tracks to film and TV music libraries. She is currently recording her second album.


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Zuriel Ferguson, 22, from Richmond, Virginia. Ever since Zuriel was a child he has been inspired to create films and tell stories. In 2011, he began to take video production and cinematography very serious by working with the Comcast Public Broadcasting organization in Richmond, VA as one of the producer/technicians while beginning to work in the freelance space for various local entities, and even journalism; taking his passion and skills to the United Nations in New York and to Costa Rica. He is currently attending ECPI College of Technology where he is pursuing a degree in the Computer and Information Science field.


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Nolan Hicks, 20, Best College PSA Winner, is a native of Steens, Mississippi. He is a formerly home educated student currently attending Mississippi State University pursuing a degree in Communications as a member of the Shackouls Honors College. Studying with an emphasis in broadcast media, he hopes to pursue a career in filmmaking and visual storytelling.


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Lauren Sweers, 19, Best College PSA Winner, is from Middleville, Michigan and is currently a sophomore at Hope College in Holland, Michigan majoring in Secondary English Education and minoring in History Education. She is passionate about educating America’s young people so that they can think critically and express their ideas and beliefs confidently. She considers making films as one of her favorite hobbies, and also enjoys reading and playing the piano.


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Hannah Cooksey, 19, Best College Speech winner, lives in beautiful McMinnville, Oregon with her parents and seven siblings. She is studying to be a paralegal at Oak Brook College of Law. She loves Jesus, spending time with friends and family, cooking, playing violin and piano, teaching music lessons, and going on mission trips. Hannah was homeschooled by her mom, Kathy, who instilled in her a love of learning and conservative values. She also lived in Japan 10 years, which helped her to understand the uniqueness of the American government structure.


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Amanda Tesarek, 21, Best College Speech winner, originally hails from Superior, Wisconsin but has since settled in New York City. As a senior at Columbia University, she studies Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and is learning to speak Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, and Farsi. She is currently in the process of writing a thesis on the role of dark money in Indian and American elections, which was inspired by her experience interning with the New York City Campaign Finance Board. Amanda is a captain of the Columbia University Mock Trial team, a member of America Reads-a volunteer organization that tutors underprivileged Harlem youth-and a founding member of the Constituting America Youth Advisory Board. After graduation, she hopes to travel to a country where she can practice one of the languages she studies and/or work for a few years before ultimately attending law school.


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Abdul was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Douglasville, Georgia, a small town outside of Atlanta, in 2010. Abdul has been working on music ever since he was 11 years old. HeI became interested in music because his older brothers were doing it and he wanted to be just like them. Abdul started producing music seriously when he was 14 and loved it ever since. He plans on attending The Art Institute of Atlanta after he graduates to continue his career in audio engineering and hopefully become an established music producer.

Janaye, 17, is a senior at Chapel Hill High School and will be attending Kennesaw State University in the Fall 2016 as a Marketing major. She has participated in Chorus for 8 years, starred in musicals and has been paid to sing at a wedding. Janaye plans to keep music in her life after college as a vocal coach for young students.


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Darby Ufford, 17, Best High School PSA Winner, is a native of Richland, Washington, and is currently a senior at Hanford High School. In middle school, she found inspiration in photography and began taking photos of everything from urban landmarks to rural sceneries. She is an active member of her community and enjoys volunteering. In fall of 2016 she plans on attending college and double-majoring in political science and economics. Darby aspires to have a career in government or law in the future.


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Madeline Peltzer, 17, is from Phoenix, Arizona. She is the oldest of three girls and has been homeschooled all her life. Madeline has been involved in politics since she was in a stroller attending district meetings and rallies with her parents. She is a longtime volunteer with her state’s family-policy and legislative council and has worked on numerous political campaigns. She is an alumna of Patriot Academy, TeenPact Leadership Schools, and the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School. In 2012 and 2014, she was blessed to win first place in Stossel in the Classroom’s national essay contest, a project of Fox Business News’ John Stossel, and was featured twice on his television program in New York City. The experience sparked an interest in free-market economics, and she has since become involved with organizations like the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, and Americans for Prosperity. In addition to studying classical piano for the past nine years, Madeline enjoys competitive figure skating, classical ballet, and jazz dance. She volunteers with her homeschool honor society, helps teach ballet classes to children with Down syndrome, and has assisted in teaching figure skating to students of all ages. In addition to church, she and her family are active with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Madeline is still deciding upon a specific college and major, but she hopes to pursue her interests in classical liberal arts, government, history, and economics as well as piano and dance.

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Katie Crosby – Best High School Short Film Short Film Title: “Forthcoming Life in America” Minnesota Katie Crosby, 15, Winner of High School Short Film Contest, is from Ramsey, Minnesota. She attends PACT Charter School and is a sophomore. Some of Katie’s passions include photography and theatre. She discovered her love for theatre through her school’s performing arts program her freshman year. Her talents for acting have contributed in many productions such as Cheaper by the Dozen, the Frog Princess, and Once Upon a Shoe. Katie has two lab-pit bull mixes named Jack and Klue. Dogs have always been a part of her family and they always will be. Her personality is one of a kind. Katie is outgoing, creative, and has a drive for her passions. Katie is grateful for all of her family and friend’s support in pursuing her love for theatre and could not do it without them.


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Jonathan Frazier loves to make music and is a performing rapper trying to become famous. He loves history so it is very easy for him to make a song about it. He is very happy that he won and looks forward to winning again. Caleb Theophilus Thomas was born on October 21st, 2000 to Tennis Thomas I and Earlisa Spencer-Thomas. He is a native of Dallas, Texas and currently attends Booker T Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts. The youngest of five brothers, he was always influenced by their generation of hip-hop culture which sparked his interest in the hip-hop genre. By the time he was in school he was getting in and out of trouble and felt like no one understood him except the bad crowd he hung out with and the rap music that they would listen too. When his parents got divorced he would begin to express his feelings on paper in short stories, then poems, then eventually rhymes. During his first year of middle school he participated in the Hip-Hop club which helped him hone his craft and value the culture as well as the music. In his 7th grade year he wrote a poem titled “Threat Since Birth” which was about the struggles of being a black man. By his 8th grade year he found his own style and mastered his flow and is now the same Caleb (stage name Roccy Montana) that you see today. Kirk D. Taylor,14, started his life of music in kindergarten, performing at P.T.M. meetings for school. Soon after he decided that his life would be dedicated to changing the world through music. The rest of elementary school he used his voice to make himself known, but not just musically. He was a finalist in the Gardeer Oratorical contest in 2010 speaking on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also learned to play piano in 5th grade. He achieved 1st chair in the Region 20 All Region Choir both 7th and 8th grade year, He has sung for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and now he plays bass guitar. He is now learning how to play acoustics guitar and once he does he’ll just have to find himself another goal.


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Leah Renner, 14, Best Middle School Essay Winner, has grown up in the south suburbs of Chicago. She currently lives in Worth, Illinois where she is home schooled. Leah enjoys basketball, running, and writing for her blog. Leah participates in her church youth group and various activities through her homeschool cooperative. After finishing high school, she anticipates mission work and possibly a career in writing or voiceover.

View Essay Here.


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Anthony Beshirs is currently a freshman at Garland High School who learned about Constituting America’s “We The Future” contest when Janine Turner came to his middle school to speak. Anthony is inspired by the way the Constitution helps us in our every day lives. He says he learned from entering the contest that “great things can come if you put in enough time and effort.” Anthony is the recipient of an award for keeping his GPA at 3.5 or higher and is a full IB student. Anthony enjoys playing the tuba in his high school band, exercising and playing video games in his spare time and aspires to become a chemical engineer and help people through his findings.

Read Essay Here.


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My name is Sonya Helms. I am 14 years old. I am from Cortland NY and I live on a small farm inside Cortland. I volunteer as a Jr. Member at our local fair board committee, and during the summer show my cattle and livestock at local county fairs. I play alto saxophone and I am a type one diabetic.

View Winning Work Here.


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Campbell Collins, 10, Best Elementary School Poem Winner, is a homeschooled 5th grader from Austin, Texas. She loves to Irish dance, swim, and write. Her favorite subjects are English and art history. Campbell is also a committed Girl Scout. In fact, she wrote this poem in order to earn a Girl Scout Constitution badge. Campbell loves to write poetry—although she admits that writing a sonnet about the separation of powers was really challenging!

Read Poem Here.


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Marin Mckinney, 9, lives in Ballwin, Missouri. She is homeschooled and is in the fourth grade. Her favorite subject in school is reading, and she also enjoys history and math. Her favorite historical time period is the American Revolution. Marin has taken art classes every week for the last three+ years and loves it! She is passionate about art and design and hopes to someday become a professional artist. In her free time, Marin likes to create projects in her “Creation Station” and loves to play soccer. She also manages to squeeze in time to play with her two younger brothers of whom she adores! She’s thrilled to have won this award and looks forward to sharing with others the importance of the Constitution.

View Artwork Here.


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Emily Kitzmiller, 19, is the 2017 Best College Song winner and the 2016 Best College PSA winner. She grew up in Vernal, Utah, but has most recently spent time with her family in Colorado. Emily has been singing for as long as she can remember and started playing the guitar and writing songs a few years ago to counteract a busy school life. She is a sophomore at Brigham Young University where she is pursuing an undergrad degree in Family Sciences with a minor in music. Emily loves people and music, and she hopes to be able to combine those loves at grad school and become a music therapist.


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My name is Isaiah Ross! I am currently a Freshman at the University of Georgia, where I am earning a degree in biology. I also march trumpet in the Redcoat Band! My hometown is Chatsworth, GA. My friend Cameron and I are honored to accept this scholarship.

My name is Cameron Gwynn, and I’m a first year Music Theory and Music Composition student at the University of Georgia. I’m primarily a trumpet player, and I’ve been playing piano for three years. I’ve always loved writing music, so I really enjoyed getting to write a song for Isaiah to sing.


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Ocipare McKinley is a 45 year old wife, mother, performer and entrepreneur. Most people affectionately call her Key; she is originally from Hartford, Connecticut and she now resides in Columbus, Ohio. Key graduated with honors from the Ohio Center of Broadcasting with her diploma in Radio and Television Broadcasting and she is matriculating at Franklin University where she is going for her Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Being a mother/caregiver of a young adult with autism, Key hopes to inspire other adults to complete their education at all costs. “As a woman, life sometimes catches us putting a greater emphasis on our families and very little care for ourselves… now that my daughter is an adult, this is the year where I get to do for myself and completing my undergrad education was first on my bucket list.”


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Cody Woods is a Sophomore at Morehouse College majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Atlanta, GA. Cody shared his story with us. In my life, there have been three teachers that have taught me so much, and those teachers are Adversity, Pain, and Failure. When I was young I was ridiculed and misunderstood because I was different, but according to worldly standards I was well off because my family was doing well. Until the economic recession in 2008, and I was stripped of what I thought of as my normal. I lost my home, all of my possessions, and my family as I knew it, and we had to do whatever it took to survive. Eventually, I hit bedrock and at my bedrock is where I found God, and he found me in the scrap yard of disparity, and Changed my life and my perception. My teachers turned from Adversity, Pain, and Failure to Perseverance, Grace, and Favor. Know I am operating in my purpose and my gift of Glorifying him, and changing the world through my mind and heart for entrepreneurship, which has now brought me to Morehouse College. During my matriculation I have been Blessed to go to China to get an international perspective on life, become one the heads of a student organization as a freshman, which has taught me leadership skills, and intern at a notable record label that has allowed me to reinvent my mind for entrepreneurship, and Love for my fellow man. Where I am at now is far from the beginning because I know through my works and Faith I will be able to go places and help people beyond own dreams and understanding. The sky is not the limit, it is just the beginning.

Read Winning Work Here.


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Destiny Dukes, 18, was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, but raised in Norfolk, Virginia. Destiny is currently a freshman at Tidewater Community College. She has always had a fascination in United States history and stays current with the politics of her country. She is the second oldest of five and has a total of eight animals at home, four cats and four dogs. In the Fall of 2017 she plans on attending her second year at TCC hoping to get her associates degree in Science. Her mom is her inspiration and her dad is her hero. Both of them fully support her in her aspiration of having a career in law enforcement as a lab technician.

Download Winning Work Here.


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For over 45 years, Octavia Taylor inspired her students in the Camden High School classroom to achieve their personal best in their lives, as well as in volleyball, tennis, drill/dance team and gymnastics. She was a role model that many students followed into their own teaching professions. Her popularity is evident when she is greeted frequently by former students with hugs and squeals! She was born and raised in Arkansas, graduated from University of Central Arkansas in Conway when it was Arkansas State Teachers College, and as a young mother, began teaching. With five grown children and nine grandchildren, she continues to lead and teach in the community – even at the age of 90! Octavia chairs the DAR Constitution Week celebration in Ouachita County, and personally participates in the “Bells Across America” bell ringing at her St. John’s Episcopal Church. She yearly writes letters in the newspaper promoting the Constitution, and gets Proclamations declared by the Mayor and the County Judge. She serves on the Oakland Cemetery Preservation Committee of the Ouachita County Historical Society, and is a character twice a year in the Cemetery Walks. She is often photographed in her elaborate costumes, made by one of her daughters. School children are treated to her stories of “tales past” during the Camden Daffodil Festival, as well as when on school tours to the McCollum Chidester House, where she is a docent. When Octavia is not teaching history, she is involved in Garden Club projects, promoting Music Club opportunities and, during the summer months, teaching water aerobics in the city pool. She has served as state DAR Conservation Chair and is a Master Gardener, reflecting her interest to promote butterfly and bird friendly yards in her own landscaping. She has been involved in planting thousands of daffodil bulbs all over town.

Octavia is considered “ageless” to her many friends, and enjoys intergenerational friendships far and wide. To keep up with Octavia, one has to put on running shoes and be willing to get involved in a project. She puts her words into actions and motivates others to do the same.

Read Essay Here.


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Bob has been an equine veterinarian for 42 years. He attended Louisiana State University and Oklahoma State University. He is a race track veterinarian, and spent the majority of his career at paramutual race tracks in Louisiana and California. He has been semi-retired since 1999, and lives in Estes Park, Colorado with his wife, Linda. They have three children and two grandchildren. Bob became acquainted with Constituting America seven years ago when his granddaughter won Best Poem in the inaugural year of the program, and has been an avid fan ever since!

Read Essay Here.


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I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, but have lived in Texas for over 30 years. I’ve been married for almost 35 years, we have two grown children and two grandchildren. After homeschooling my daughter, I started working at our neighborhood elementary school as a 4th Grade Aide, then a para-librarian. I’ve worked as a para-librarian at Sue Crouch Intermediate School in Crowley ISD, since 2012. It’s a two-year campus for 5th and 6th grade, so every other year I teach Our Nation’s Foundations to supplement Social Studies curriculum. I’m also known in local circles as the Tap-Dancing Librarian for hosting an after school Tap Club.

Read Lesson Plan Here.


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I am from Monarch Beach, California and currently a world history teacher at Serrano Intermediate School in Lake Forest, California. The students in my classes are fascinating people and I am confident in their abilities to learn, grow, and make valuable contributions to our society. That is why I collaborate with other teachers to do cross-curricular activities, share stories about my travels, my entrepreneurship in the food business, and take interest in what students have to say about history and its lessons. Fundamentally, I promote student ownership for learning. Treasuring our Constitution, practicing what we preach, and knowing our place in history is our guiding light. Students in my classes do brilliant things, have excellent curiosities, and learn so much. We go on fun adventures, perform engaging puppet shows, do hard work, visit museums, and celebrate remarkable accomplishments throughout history at our World’s Faire. Certainly, my hope is students come away knowing life loves a student.

Read Lesson Plan Here.


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Marin Mckinney, 10, lives in Ballwin, Missouri. She is homeschooled and is in the fourth grade. Her favorite subject in school is reading, and she also enjoys history and math. Her favorite historical time period is the American Revolution. Marin has taken art classes every week for the last three+ years and loves it! She is passionate about art and design and hopes to someday become a professional artist. In her free time, Marin likes to create projects in her “Creation Station” and loves to play soccer. She also manages to squeeze in time to play with her two younger brothers of whom she adores! She’s thrilled to have won this award and looks forward to sharing with others the importance of the Constitution.

Read Poem Here.


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With this poetry category, Becca creatively had fun while using the French political philosopher’s name (Montesquieu) in an acrostic to enlighten the reader of our nation’s ‘Checks and Balances’ system. Becca, 12, is currently a 6th grader at London ISD and lives with her parents, younger sister and two brothers in the sparkling city of Corpus Christi, Texas. While striving for good grades, her favorite subjects are Reading and Writing. Hobbies include listening to music and any activities that involve creative designing. In a leadership capacity last year, Rebecca received the school’s Academic Excellence (or Marlin) Award with her essay entitled “The Importance of Family.” With more time and focus, Becca hopes to gain greater understanding and appreciation for our beloved Constitution and how it connects with our everyday life.

Read Poem Here.



Faith Liu, 22, grew up in Morganville, New Jersey, spending most of her high school years writing and producing short films within a small company of friends. She received her B.A. in English and Music from Hillsdale College, where she designed and directed two student productions – Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Shakespeare’s Macbeth – and spent a summer at Oxford University as part of their study abroad program. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Screenwriting at the University of Southern California.


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Since 2004, Matt Fitzgibbons has been writing non-partisan music that celebrates America’s founding principles. His goal is to inspire people to think, learn and talk about individual liberty.

Fitzgibbons has released four albums which have received many honors including two ASCAPlus awards, a song featured in a documentary on the Right to Bear Arms, a second place award in an Irish songwriting contest, and an Honorable mention in the 2016 SongDoor International Songwriting Competition, among others. With his music, videos, writing and hundreds of interviews across the country and abroad, Fitzgibbons has reached millions of people with his positive message. For more information, music, videos, show dates and booking, Matt Fitzgibbons’ website is


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Lucas Elliott is a second grader from Wake Forest, North Carolina. His favorite subjects in school are math and reading. Since he is the youngest of four children, he is well versed in making sure his thoughts and ideas are not ever lost in the shuffle. He loves to entertain and is excited about all forms of media. He hopes to have a forum to share his vision with the world in the future. He also loves to play basketball, and tinker around the house with his tool set. He had many questions during this past election season and enjoyed writing his poem as he was learning about how our government was designed.

Read Poem Here.


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Lirit Kaye, 10, lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She attends Benchmark Elementary School and is in the fourth grade. Her favorite subjects are math and art. Drawing always has been Lirit’s passion. She has taken art classes at the Carrie Curran Art Studios in Scottsdale and from Mrs. Blanco in the Benchmark after school program. Lirit has earned a Blue Belt in Karate and likes to sing and dance. She enjoys constructing Lego sets and playing golf with her older brother. Lirit is truly honored to have won this award.


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Halley is a native Coloradan, and is an 8th grade home schooled student. She has studied piano, music theory and plays the ukulele. Halley keeps busy with her nine chickens, two Schnauzers and three horses. She enjoys riding the trails, participating in the rodeo and is a committed hunter/jumper equestrian athlete. Halley loves history and is a past Best Elementary Poem winner.


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I am homeschooled and I live in Sanford, Florida. I love to sing and write songs, Other things that I enjoy are drawing, swimming, filming, and dancing. I play the ukulele and piano. I love animals and have two dogs and a turtle. I like to hangout with my friends and we usually make songs and stories together! I would like to be a voice over actress, writer, or a singer songwriter someday!


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Quinten, 15, Best Middle School Entrepreneurial Winner, lives in Suwanee, GA and is currently a freshman in high school. He plays basketball and enjoys drawing and listening to music. Quinten’s favorite subjects are Social Studies and Science. Quinten recently traveled to Vermont and New Jersey to see extended family and looks to travel more in the future. Quinten is a talented artist, who enjoys developing his craft.

View Winning Work Here.


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Victoria Gruen, 13, lives in California. Her favorite subject in school is early American history. Pounding her soul out on the piano is one of her favorite things to do. She likes needlework, and is currently sewing time-period clothing. Among her favorite authors are Austen and Alcott; her favorite books are Pride and Prejudice and Little Women. When Victoria grows up, she wants a career in politics. As a firm believer in freedom and the Constitution, she wants to defend the principles that our Founding Fathers held – among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

View Winning Work Here.


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Andrew Cooksey, 12, enjoys rafting, target shooting, road trips, skiing, basketball, politics, camping, and other outdoor activities. He lives near Portland, Oregon. He is homeschooled, plays in an orchestra, and his favorite subject is Greek. He also enjoys history and math. He likes to try out new Mexican restaurants with his brothers.


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Claire Ledford, 12 is the winner of the Middle School Essay Contest. She is a homeschooler from Sanford, North Carolina. She enjoys reading, writing and watching movies. Some of her favorite books are A Girl of the Limberlost, the Serafina series and Cracker. She also loves to travel and is working on a travel challenge to visit 15 countries, all 50 states, all 100 counties in her state by 2020. She is about half way there. Previously, she lobbied for a homeschool bill that was passed and she was able to attend the bill signing with the Governor. She is part of NC Junior Historian through her History Hounds Club and has won numerous statewide contests. She is very excited about winning this contest and teaching others about the Constitution.

Read Essay Here.


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Greg Volynsky, 17, the best entrepreneurship winner, is a native of New Jersey and a student at the Bergen County Academies. Throughout his high school career, Greg has continually explored various fields; engineering research became an entrepreneurial experience, passionate discussions turned into formal debate. Greg is an active method of the Junior Statesmen of America and coaches debate at the Bergen County Debate Club. For Greg, discussions are both intellectually stimulating and plain interesting; but they are not enough. Recently, Greg began to volunteer on a local city-wide campaign, where he works directly with the candidate to draft policy proposals. Furthermore, Greg realized that most media coverage is political commentary, not actual policy analysis; so Greg launched a website – Politiscope News (, which aggregates policy-related articles and analysis. Greg hopes to continue to turn conversations into actions wherever he goes and to apply the entrepreneurial approach to government, for it is by thinking creatively and pursuing policy beyond the constraints of politics that we can harness innovative solutions to help real people.

View Winning Work Here.


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My name is Cameron Alexander Graves. I was born on Oct 30, 1998 in Portsmouth, Virginia and moved to Alexandria, VA in 2007. I am currently a senior at T.C. Williams High School and plan on going to college to get my masters’s in Business. Ever since the age of 14, I’ve been a huge fan of Hip-Hop music. So much of a fan, I took up the art form myself and began writing raps and poems. Over the years, I’ve developed my own distinct style, and have received local recognition because of it. This positive feedback has only deepened my passion for the art, which is why one of my top goals is to become one of the best lyricists to ever live.


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Ben Phibbs is a 17-year old homeschool junior from North Carolina who plans to attend Patrick Henry College in preparation for a career in constitutional law. Inspired by his parents to revere the treasured tradition of American Republicanism, Ben has, from a young age, admired the rich history of the Founding and laudable structure of the Constitution. For enrichment and service, Ben participates in debate and moot court, tutors at a local Christian school, and leads his church youth band.

Read Essay Here.


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As a senior at Western High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Isabella Cring, 17, is already a veteran in vocal performance and local theater. With musicals, open mic nights, coffee houses, civic organizations and even a lead singer at the Renaissance, where she performs weekly in her father’s church, she has scattered the seeds of her talent and has begun to harvest a great crop of appreciation. About a year ago Isabella added song-writing to her pursuits, using both the piano and the ukulele. Isabella also leads the South Florida Cappies (Junior Theater Critic) and is a food bank and mentoring volunteer.


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Jack Duffy is a freshman at Newman Catholic High School in Wausau, Wisconsin. At the age eleven he discovered filmmaking and it has been his passion ever since. Jack loves to free ski, run track, and play soccer, but he spends most of his time watching movies, script writing, shooting, editing, and working to earn money to buy more film equipment. After high school graduation he plans to go to college and study film. In the meantime, Jack continues to make films starring his friends, neighbors and his seven brothers and sisters.

GRACE FLORING – Best High School PSA 2016/Best College STEM Project 2017

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Grace Floring, 19, is the 2017 Best College STEM winner and 2016 Best High School PSA winner. She grew up in Delaware, Ohio and is currently an undergraduate student at Case Western Reserve University studying Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Grace has always been interested in science and math, and someday hopes to inspire young women to pursue their interests in STEM. She is excited to continue being involved in her community as her college career continues.


Grace’s Winning STEM PROJECT



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Kira Mathiesen is 18 and currently in Boston, Massachusetts studying Biochemistry on a Pre-Med track. She is originally from Santa Cruz California, where she was first inspired to get active politically in her community, and now participates in many marches and peaceful protests on the east coast. She is working hard to make sure her and every person’s voices are heard while also studying hard to get her degree in 2020.

Read Essay Here.

How The Supreme Court Constitutes America – Guest Essayist: William Morrisey

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In defending the establishment of the United States Supreme Court, Alexander Hamilton maintained that the absence of an independent judicial power had handicapped the government established by the Articles of Confederation. The way the Articles government had been structured made the rule of law–even the modest legislation enacted by Congress–more or less impossible.

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Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church And School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2012) (Part 2) – Guest Essayist: John O. Tyler

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Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (2012): Protecting Religious Liberty in American Schools

In Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2012), the federal government tried to force a church, against its will, to hire a minister to teach in the church’s school. The US Supreme Court held that the federal government could not force the church to do so. Churches are free to shape their faith and mission under the Free Exercise clause by selecting their own ministers and religious teachers. The Establishment Clause prohibits any government involvement in their selection.

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Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church And School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2012) – Guest Essayist: Gennie Westbrook

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The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The Supreme Court has interpreted this prohibition to mean that state action that imposes restriction on the free exercise of religion is permitted only when there is a “compelling state interest in the regulation of a subject within the State’s constitutional power to regulate…” and even then, only “to prevent grave and immediate danger…”

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Janine Turner is a native Texan raised by her father, Turner Maurice Gauntt, Jr., from Athens, Texas and her mother, Janice Gauntt, from San Antonio, Texas. At the age of fifteen, Janine journeyed to New York City to become the youngest model at the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. At age seventeen, Janine was in Hollywood launching her acting career. After acclaimed success, Janine returned to Texas in 1995 to raise her beloved daughter, Juliette, on their Longhorn cattle ranch in North Texas.

Janine is an entrepreneur at heart. Besides being a single mother, she is an actress, author, speaker, singer, director, yoga enthusiast, rancher, foundation chair, columnist and political activist.

As an actress, Janine is best known for her Emmy & Golden Globe nominated role as Maggie O’Connell, the feisty bush pilot in the hit TV series, Northern Exposure, during which she was named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful” and one of Esquire Magazine’s “Women We Love.” Other notable feature film credits include: Cliffhanger, Leave it to Beaver – as June Cleaver, Dr. T & the Women, Steel Magnolias, and the popular TV series – Friday Night Lights. Janine has recently completed three new film roles in Solace, opposite Anthony Hopkins, Occupy Texas, & Ivy League Farmer.

As a director, Janine has won multiple awards for her directorial short film debut, Trip in a Summer Dress and now is launching her first full length feature film as screenwriter, director and star in the upcoming, Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy. Amongst producing and starring in a Christian Yoga DVD, Christoga, and writing and singing songs with her daughter, Juliette, for their debut album Mockingbird Hill, Janine has authored two published books, the Washington Post Bestseller, Holding Her Head High about historical, heroic single mothers and the recently released A Little Bit Vulnerable – on Hollywood, God, Sobriety and Politics.

On fire to protect America’s Republic, Janine launched an award winning radio show, The Janine Turner Show, a foundation, Constituting America, and authored 85 essays on the Federalist. Her opinion editorials are published at the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, – and as a column at PJ Media. Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor every Friday for a year as a political pundit, Janine continues to be a frequent guest on Fox News.

Inspired by her appointment to President Bush’s Council for Service and Civic Participation, Janine created her foundation, Constituting America, which she co-chairs with Cathy Gillespie. Her mission is to educate America’s youth and citizens about the importance of the nonpartisan United States Constitution. She utilizes her Hollywood experience to encourage kids to write and direct short films, public service announcements and hit songs about how the founding document protects liberty.

Janine, inspired by her father, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, speaks across the country to school kids and adults about preserving America’s principles and the United States Constitution, including a prime time speech at the Republican National Convention in 2012.

Janine continues to inspire audiences across the country not only with her artistic talents but with her speaking talents – on tours with such issues as single motherhood, civic duty, Constitutional politics, sobriety, health, her Christian Faith and on overcoming rejection – surviving her Hollywood 10,000 no’s.


Cathy Gillespie has held numerous positions in government and politics over the past 30 years. She has served as a congressional chief of staff (Congressman Joe Barton), campaign manager, fundraiser and grassroots organizer. Women’s outreach has been a special interest of Cathy’s and in 2004 she served as Director of President Bush’s W Stands for Women effort and in 2008 helped Actress Janine Turner promote her Washington Post bestselling book, Holding Her Head High: 12 Single Women Who Championed Their Children and Changed History.

Cathy serves as co-chair of Constituting America with Actress Janine Turner (Northern Exposure, Friday Night Lights, Cliffhanger) – and has served in this capacity since Constituting America’s founding in 2010 by Actress Janine Turner. Constituting America’s mission is to utilize the culture and multi-media outreach such as music, film, internet and social media, to educate, engage and inspire America’s adults and students about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the foundation it sets forth regarding our freedoms and rights.

Constituting America is the only organization that utilizes the movies, music and television with the kids’ own works, to inspire Americans of all ages to learn about the U.S. Constitution by distributing their works through the national media.

Cathy is active in a number of political and charitable organizations, having served until recently on the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University, and currently on the board of Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services in Alexandria, Virginia and the Joe Barton Family Foundation based in Ennis, Texas.

She has volunteered and raised funds for the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, Independent Women’s Forum, Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Histiocytosis Association of America, and the Susan B. Anthony List. She has served as a Commissioner on the President’s Commission on White House Fellows, and as a board member of Bishop Ireton High School.

After 25 years on Capitol Hill and in politics, Cathy has come to believe that in addition to participating in the political process, we all must work to educate our children and re-educate ourselves about the principles embodied in the United States Constitution, and upon which our country was founded. Cathy believes we all must engage in “culture making,” in order to preserve and protect these values.

Cathy is a graduate of Texas A&M University. She lives in Fairfax County near George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Cathy is married to Ed Gillespie, former Republican National Committee Chairman and Counselor to President George W. Bush. Ed and Cathy have three children: John, Carrie & Mollie.


James (Jay) McConville is an Aerospace and Defense Industry Consultant and the founder of Emerald Collaborative Partners, LLC, which specializes in systems and technologies for the defense and intelligence market, both in the US and internationally. Over the last twenty years Jay has served in key executive positions in this market, including as a Director of Business Development with Lockheed Martin Corporation; Executive Vice President for Chandler/May, Inc.; President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of AME Unmanned Air Systems, Inc.; and as a Vice President at General Dynamics Corporation.

Prior to entering industry, Jay served as a United States Army Intelligence Officer, including service with the 1st Cavalry Division during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Jay is a past President of the Washington DC “Capitol” Chapter of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), having been elected in 2009 to two terms after multiple years on the Chapter’s Board of Directors. He also recently completed his second term as an elected member of the Mt. Vernon-Lee (Virginia) Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Jay ran for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009. He subsequently served two years as a Fairfax County Republican Committee (FCRC) Vice Chairman and was then elected Chairman in 2012. During his tenure FCRC was recognized as the outstanding unit in Virginia, and Jay was awarded the 11th District Chairman of the Year Award and the Republican Party of Virginia Chairman’s Award.

Jay has a Bachelor of Science from George Mason University and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College, Washington, DC.

Jay lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife of over 30 years, Susan Ulsamer McConville. They have three children, James Robert, a Captain in the United States Army, Colin Evans, a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and Katelyn Grace, a student at East Carolina University.

Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson joined Thompson Hospitality in November 1992.

As CAO he is responsible for monitoring and maintaining corporate overhead costs and services, including vendor contracts, subcontracts, commissions and procurement contract negotiations. Fred is also responsible for client relations in the contract food service sector of Thompson Hospitality.

Fred Thompson has nearly 20 years experience in purchasing and procurement, having served as small and minority business opportunities coordinator for the city of Newport News, Virginia. He earned a BA in Classical Studies from Hampden-Sydney College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Virginia.


Cindy Sue Clark is a proven businesswoman and grassroots political activist who is deeply involved in private and political leadership at the state and national level.

As a successful businesswoman, Cindy Sue had served as an executive with Triple Five Corporation, and continues to provide business strategy counsel for them. Some of the projects of Triple Five Corporation are Mall of America, West Edmonton Mall and other mega properties. She had owned numerous business including Avru International Trading Inc. and Clean Sweep which she started up and eventually sold before working for Triple Five. She currently owns A. Clark Roofing company with her husband.

Cindy Sue has done various fund raising events for political and non political causes. Some include private events for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, ChilpHelp, La a’ Kea Foundation, Autism Bridges to name a few. She was given the title of Pioneer fundraiser for the Bush/Cheney campaign with members nationally totaling 250 people only. She has actively campaigned for Governor Linda Lingle, Mayor Alan Arakawa and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. Cindy Sue had served as Speaker Gingrich’s Campaign Chairwoman for his presidential campaign where she served as a Gingrich media surrogate during the campaign.

Locally she served a leader in the community and as the Maui County GOP Chairwoman, the Vice President of the Maui Tea Party and has been a Delegate and Alternate Delegate to the 2004, 2012 and the upcoming 2016 National GOP Conventions.

Giving back to the community is a large part of Cindy’s life. She served on the La a’ Kea Foundation for Mentally Disabled Children, a Founder of Autism Bridges Maui, board member of Childhelp, Maggie’s List and previously served on the commission for Disabled of Maui.

Her fondest memories include meeting Newt and Callista Gingrich at a Whitehouse party and becoming lifetime friends, shooting with former Vice President Cheney in Georgia and fund raising for charities with Steven Tyler of Areosmith, guitarist prodigy Johnny Lang, and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac to name a few. A special shoutout to Lee Greenwood and his beautiful wife, Kim. She treasures the times they spent together and considers them true American patriots. God Bless the USA!




Chuck Clowdis is the Managing Director for Transportation for HIS Economics and Country Risk. Mr. Clowdis is a frequent speaker for industry and civic groups on the current happenings in transportation and logistics.

Mr. Clowdis leads IHS consulting projects tailored for both private and public sector clients, such as Federal and State Departments of Transportation, municipal planning organizations and transport service providers, including river barge operators, railroads, air cargo operators, motor carriers, steamship lines and dray operators, as well as providers of third-party logistics (3PL) services. He has assisted transport providers in refining their markets, streamlining their operations and focusing and pricing their service to offer optimum price versus service levels. He often works with transport planners and planning firms on freight flow plans, as well as airport master planning for enhanced cargo operations.

Mr. Clowdis has assisted both Fortune 500 and smaller companies in designing their supply chain operations to achieve maximum service via the most cost-efficient means. In addition to being experts in the various modes of transport, the team Mr. Clowdis leads provides consultation on commodity flows and commodity transport throughout North America.

Prior to joining IHS, Clowdis served as a senior vice president of marketing and national account sales at TNT North America and senior vice president of marketing at Transcon Lines, Inc. He also has held other executive positions with major transportation organizations. He was an executive consultant for the national transportation practice of Ernst & Young LLP from 1983 until 2000. Mr. Clowdis formerly served as chairman and president of the American Trucking Associations’ Sales & Marketing Council, for whom he authored the best-selling book, “The ART of Giving Quality Motor Carrier Service,” and also wrote, “The Driver Makes a Difference.” He has contributed to several other books and authored white papers and trade magazine articles on transportation, supply chain activities and logistics. Mr. Clowdis holds degrees from Young Harris College, Young Harris, Ga., U.S., and University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., U.S.


Kristie McCrary is an attractive, articulate, seasoned executive with 21 years experience in making things happen where others were not able to. She is one of those unusual people who not only arranges for others to appear on TV but has been personally featured in bumper segments herself.

Kristie is trusted and respected by the top people in the TV industry reporting directly to Pat Robertson, CBN Chairman where she was recognized with the 2009 Presidents Award for Excellence for outstanding performance demonstrating, innovation, integrity and excellence. As Special Events Coordinator for the Christian Broadcasting Network, Kristie was responsible for the Development of dozens of programs, guest lists and ideas for the 700 club and the creation and development of new fundraiser ideas and events Resulting in an increase of 83% in giving.

Kristie manages people and is known as the “Idea Jedi” filled with new ideas. She developed and led the implementation of a live 2008 Webcast event featuring Dr. Pat Robertson, Gordon Robertson and Terry Meeuwsen of the 700 Club. She also had the coveted responsibility of kicking off the 2009 SuperBook Premier night.

Kristie has the innate ability to open doors, cultivate new partnerships and sustain & re-establish relationships with part partners, film pr
oducers and PR relationships, which she did with I am Second and 3Partners. She negotiated deals with the top executives of firms such as: FOX News, ABC,O Magazine, NBC Today Show,
Socrates in the City-Eric Metaxas, the Q and others. She was also responsible for the planning and implementation of the 911 Ten Year Anniversary Dinner and program for 330 guests. Recruiting and hosting featured 9/11 Survivors and speakers: Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell-Pentagon Survivor and Sujo John – North Trade Tower survivor. Both films are at She was entrusted with setting up high-profile back to back events in Manhattan with Pastors of large Churches and media affiliates.

“Kristie is the most organized person I think I have ever met. She could organize a bowl of spaghetti and get it all straightened out. She is amazing.”
Governor Mike Huckabee

Kristie has a passion for people and understands the dynamics of relationships. She has been called the “Hope Whisperer” for her ability to put the spin on anything. Some of the outstanding celebrities and sports figures she was able to bring on were:

Clayton Kershaw:
LA Dodgers Ace Pitcher, Gold Glove Winner & MLB All Star

Kathy Ireland:
Supermodel Worldwide

Matt Kemp:
LA Dodgers, Center Fielder, two time Gold Glove Winner

Brady James:
Dallas Cowboys & Houston Texans

She holds a B.S. in Telecommunications from Oral Roberts University
where she was on the National Deans List and Presidents Council, served in the Student Senate and was voted Student Body Vice President for 2 ½ years. Additionally she has taken steps to keep abreast & ahead of the curve with courses such as: Executive Coachingby Elaine Morris and Ultimate Leadership by Dr. John Townsend.


Linda Moak is a former dental hygienist and homeschooling grandmother. She has been involved with Constituting America since its inception. Linda is the founder of one of Constituting America’s first Patriot Clubs, and her grand daughter, Halley Moak, was the first winner of Constituting America’s We The Future poetry contest in 2010. Linda’s mother was Constituting America’s first Senior Essay winner in 2013. Linda lives in Colorado. She enjoys horses and reading…especially history. Linda loves to travel, snow ski, hike and occasionally golf.


I’m originally from West Memphis, Arkansas, but Corsicana, Texas is my home. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Arkansas, and I am a Certified Public Accountant. I have 5 children and a wonderful husband Bob.

Our family business is Collin Street Bakery. And we have M Crowd restaurant group with Mi Cocina, Taco Diner, and Mercury restaurants.

I stay busy with family and my cattle and quite a bit of traveling.


Pam Pryor is the president and owner of Pryor Works – a public affairs firm that focusses on communication, strategy, marketing and training. With both political and corporate clients, she teaches organizational skills and team building such as StrengthsFinders, for which she is Gallup-certified.

She taught speech communication on the university level and was a television news anchor and reporter. After having her own radio talk show in Oklahoma City, she moved to Washington, DC where she served as Representative J.C. Watts’ chief of staff in his leadership office of the U.S. House. Named as one of the hundred most powerful women in Washington, Pam has held a number of appointments.

After Watts’ retirement, she spent time in the faith and community-based public affairs world and built capacity for several organizations through We Care America. She also helped launch an organization preserving religious freedom.

She served as the RNC liaison for the McCain campaign and later launched Sarah Palin’s political action committee.

She has worked coalitions and collaborations in the issue campaign space from health care to spending to energy. During the 2012 election cycle, she ran the largest non-candidate, non-party grassroots field team made up of more than 9 coalition groups in 16 states. At that time, she also helped to stand up the training organization that taught all of the field directors. She has worked for Freedom Partners and Philanthropy Roundtable.

Being a daughter of first generation Italian-Americans, she loves to cook and entertain and talk about people’s strengths every chance she gets.


Mr. Roper graduated in 1982 from the University of Missouri in Rolla with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering.

Mr. Roper has 31 years of experience in the natural gas and oil and gas production business. After 7 years in various engineering and business positions with Tenneco Oil Company and various affiliates of Tennessee Pipeline, Mr. Roper joined Aquila Energy in 1989 in Transportation and Marketing. In 1990, he became Vice President of Marketing as part of the acquisition of Clajon Gas Company – a large gatherer of Austin Chalk gas. In 1993, this operation completed a successful IPO and Mr. Roper was Managing Vice President.

Mr. Roper joined Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy Co. in 1998 as Sr. Vice President managing the growth, development and operation of Sid Richardson Energy Services (SRES). In March 2006, Mr. Roper joined Southern Union Energy Services as Sr. Vice President upon Southern’s acquisition of SRES. In January 2007, Mr. Roper was appointed President of Southern Union Gas Services, retiring from this position in June 2007.

Mr. Roper is President of BOPCO, L.P. and has held this position since July 2007.


Phil Rosenthal graduated from WVU in 1964 with a business management degree. He has been the President of Nationwide Credit Corporation, a third party debt collection agency, since 1970. Under Phil’s guidance, the company continues to grow and prosper.

The collection industry’s trade association, American Collectors Association International (ACA) elected Phil as an officer in 1996 and Phil because its president in 2000. Phil was awarded a number of ACA honors for his diligent work, knowledge and service to the collection industry.

Phil has also been a member of the Virginia Collection Agency (VCA) since 1972 and served in all positions within the association.

While Phil grew his company and became active within the collection industry, he did not limit all his attention to business. Phil has also serves on the Fairfax County Community Action Advisory Board, Fairfax County A. Heath Onthank Advisory Committee and Good Shepherd Housing. He is deeply committed to help our area’s low-income families in their struggles of finding adequate housing, food and caring for their children. The Fairfax County of Fire and Rescue Department has a volunteer division, Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue, which helps underprivileged children. For a number of years Phil has participated in their various drives: school backpack, coats, shoes, haircuts and holiday toys. Recently Phil was awarded the Governor’s 2013 Virginia’s Fire Service Award for Excellence in Virginia’s Fire Service Support – Private Sector.


W. Dennis Stephens is a government affairs counselor at K&L Gates. He previously served as a senior staff member for several House Republican members, including former Majority Leader Dick Armey. Dennis has more than 35 years working in Republican campaigns, policy, and political matters including more than 19 years experience as a Republican lobbyist.

Dennis works on a wide range of public policy issues including tax, technology, foreign policy, and transportation on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, associations, and small businesses.

Dennis has worked closely with many Republicans in the House and Senate including members of the Republican Study Committee. He has especially close relationships with the House Republican leadership and senior staff as well as many of the incoming freshmen.

In addition, Dennis has worked closely for more than two decades with every leading conservative activist and grassroots organization including The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and the Family Research Council.

Dennis is very active in the conservative movement and is a regular speaker for the Leadership Institute Capitol Hill Staff School. He is also consulted regularly by Republican elected officials to review both policy issues and electoral strategy and tactics.

Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Dennis spent three years in the second term of the Reagan Administration, including the Office of Presidential Personnel in the White House.


Author of How to Raise An American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American, blogger, podcaster and editor for several sites, and Chief Content Creator for Sunrise Business Consulting, her own company. Also currently working full-time as the Local Outreach Director for the largest church in Colorado.

She has done mission work in Africa and Asia and ran for the Colorado State House in 2014. She has been married to her husband for almost 10 years and is a mom to 5 kids. Her family lives in Boulder County, Colorado where they enjoy running, obstacle course racing, hiking, and camping and they have a flat-coated retriever named Eddy.


Cathy Tripodi is the director of business affairs at the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Prior she served as the director of energy for former Governor Mitch Daniels, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and lead the state’s efforts to attract jobs in energy and automotive advanced manufacturing sectors and assisted existing Indiana companies to grow their investments.

Cathy also served as a policy advisor to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the secretary of the U. S. Department of Energy, under President George W. Bush, where she researched, analyzed and prepared energy policy recommendations and provided subject matter expertise.

Cathy has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Villanova University, Philadelphia, PA.




Matthew McNey, 21, was born in Columbia, MD; however, he was raised in College Park, Burtonsville and Laurel. As a product of the American Dream he was instilled with strong religious convictions, hard work and dedication. He was not born into a rich family; his was a family best characterized as middle class, a family battling with drug addiction and alcoholism. Matthew goes to school and works full time with plans to go to Harvard Law and Harvard Business School to earn a JD and MBA, and to become a corporate attorney. He has been involved in politics since he was 13. He joined the Democratic Party when he was 16, and eventually became the President of the Maryland Federation of College Democrats.


Amanda Tesarek, 19, Best College Short Film Winner, is from Superior, Wisconsin, and attends Columbia University in New York City. She is currently a sophomore, and plans to pursue a double major in biochemistry and political science and a minor in Arabic language. Her extracurricular activities have included student government, newspaper, and improvisational comedy. Amanda was especially inspired to enter this contest after attending the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls State and Girls Nation programs, which taught her the importance of patriotism and appreciating those who serve in the armed forces.


Juliette has been able to learn from her mother’s power to prevail while sharing many of the same life interests. Juliette wrote the bestselling book Our Constitution Rocks!(HarpersCollins/Zondervan) at age 12. Our Constitution Rocks, currently in its second printing with over 50,000 copies sold, is endorsed by Former First Ladies Laura and Barbara Bush, President Clinton’s White House Counsel Jack Quinn, constitutional scholars, and many other political leaders of both parties. At age 16, Juliette Turner’s second book was published: Our Presidents Rock! (HarpersCollins/Zondervan) Our Presidents Rock brings American presidents to life for America’s future generation —using fun anecdotes and an engaging sense of humor to inspire young Americans to learn about leadership and history. Juliette’s new novel, That’s Not Hay In My Hair, will hit the shelves March 8, 2016 (Zondervan).

Juliette Turner is the National Youth Director of Constituting America, a group founded by her mother and co-chaired with Cathy Gillespie that is dedicated to educating Americans about the founding documents. Juliette reaches youth across America with her engaging books, motivational speeches, entertaining videos and media interviews. Juliette was the youngest author ever to speak at Mt. Vernon’s George Washington Symposium, and was recently one of four featured authors at the Dallas Celebration of Reading, along with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mark Shriver and ABC’s Byron Pitts.

As a dynamic duo, the Turners have been speaking to groups around the country, mixing pop culture and American history to engage apathetic citizens to get engaged. Beyond their dedication to the country, the Turners love spending time with each other; Juliette enjoys farming with Janine on the longhorn cattle ranch, helping Janine on the set of her recent films, co-recording an album with Janine, attending church with Janine, and working side-by-side on Janine’s radio show.


Austin Dobbs is a remarkable young man whose high school attributes, achieve ments and character mirror those of Turner Maurice Gauntt, Jr.’s. Dobbs was Valedictorian of his graduating class from Quitman High School in Quitman, Texas with a 5.4 grade point average. He was Captain of the football team and Captain of the track team. He received All-District Honors for his positions as wide receiver and defensive back and was named First Team Academic All-State as well as serving as Treasurer and Vice President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Academically, in addition to being Valedictorian, he was President of the National Honor Society, President of the Debate Club, Student Council Vice-President and Senior Class President. He was a State Qualifying Debater for his junior and senior seasons, deemed as one of the top five debaters in the state of Texas and was the State Silver Gavel winner as 2nd in the State of Texas 2013. He received countless academic and character awards within his community. His church and community ser- vice is astonishing with 775 hours served, which includes Program Director of DASH – Drugs, Alcohol, Safety, and Health.

Dobbs is a freshman at Baylor University as a pre-law student pursuing political science as his major. After completion of his undergraduate degree, he anticipates joining what he believes to be one of the greatest branches of our military – the JAG program – because, in Austin Dobb’s words, “everything in this world must be earned and I am intrinsically inclined to repay the world for the countless opportunities with which I have been presented.” He lives by his mother’s motto “ To whom much is given, much is required”. Constituting America, Janine Turner (Gauntt) and the Gauntt Family are proud to present Austin Dobbs with this award in Turner Maurice Gauntt, Jr.’s name.


Laney Kraus-Taddeo, 17, Best High School Short Film Winner, lives in Park Ridge, Illinois, and is currently a senior at Maine South High School. She has worked as a professional actress since the age of nine, appearing in both live theater productions and short films. In high school she discovered a love of video and film production and has written, conceptualized, shot, directed and edited numerous short films, and has also directed live sports broadcasts and performing arts presentations. Proud to be this year’s short film winner, Laney is also an award-winning writer and editor with her high school newspaper, is the Boys Varsity Basketball video coordinator, and is active in her community. She will be attending college in the Fall of 2015 and plans on pursuing a double major in film production and theater.


Nic Downs, 20, is from Dana Point, California. He will begin his junior year this fall at Point Loma Nazarene University in Southern California. He loves writing, foreign languages, people, and cultures, and always searches for ways to learn more in these areas. Excelling in Italian and French, he has tutored at Saddleback College and has also worked privately, teaching Italian to missionaries bound for Italy. He has participated in mission trips to Spain, Africa, and the Caribbean, along with family expeditions throughout the world. Over the last few years, Nic has taken a keen interest in politics, and is especially passionate about the Constitution and the issues that threaten its existence. In addition, he recently attended the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington, D.C.


Jewel Gilbert, 20, Best College Speech Winner, is from Easton, Pennsylvania and a Freshman at Muhlenberg College. He is extremely grateful to have had his speech chosen as the Winner of Constituting America. Jewel has three passions: To serve God, play football, and perform with Sing For America. Sing for America is a charitable group founded by the Gilbert family in 2005. Performing up to 80 performances a year, stretching from Memphis to Maine, they do it to show appreciation for the Military families sacrificing so much for us. In 2011, Sing For America evolved as an entity striving to bring light and truth to the community through the arts in many different ways. Sing For America Productions was born, and since has done 8 Broadway style musicals incorporating professional and amateur talent under the slogan “The Arts Are Color Blind.” Out of the 224 cast members involved with SFAP, half of them are minorities. Many of the actors had their very first experience on stage with us. Sing For America has been able to donate over $40,000 to help military families in need by paying rent, heating bills, food, whatever they may need.


Lindsay Culpepper, 11, Best Poem Winner, lives in Maylene, AL, just south of Birmingham. She is a sixth grader at Evangel Classical Christian School, where she enjoys studying science, Latin, and history. In her free time, she likes reading, writing, art, horseback riding, and playing basketball. An animal lover, she has attended Zoo Camp at the Birmingham Zoo each summer for the past four years. She recently started serving in the children’s ministry at her church, assisting with the children’s worship service. In the future she hopes to become a writer, a nature photographer, or a veterinarian.


Anya Ambarish, 10, Best Elementary School Poem Winner, lives in Dulles, Virginia. She goes to Rosa Lee Carter Elementary school and is in the fifth grade. Her favorite subject at school is reading, and she also enjoys science and social studies. She is passionate about poetry, writing, reading, tennis, basketball and ping-pong. Many of her short stories and poems have been published in various books and websites. She aspires to become a lawyer or a writer.


Maryem Bouatlaoui, 10, Best Emblem Winner, is a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born in Morocco. Maryem attends Henry W. Lawton Elementary School. She is involved in a lot of afterschool programs like The Choir Club, Patriots Club and Environmental Club. Maryem also enjoys drawing and hopes to become a doctor when she grows up.


Halley is 12 years old, and enjoys history and horses. She was a Best Poem winner in Constituting America’s inaugural year, and is an active member of Constituting America’s Colorado Patriot Club. Halley lives in Estes Park, Colorado where she is involved with 4-H, swim team, her youth group “The Hub,” Rooftop Rodeo and the Estes Park Equestrian Club. An avid rider, she owns two quarter horses.








Laurel Asness has been active in many charitable endeavors including autism research, education, and many Nebraskan specific charities. Along with her husband Cliff, Managing Principal of AQR Capital Management, Laurel has helped advance think tanks focused on national security and education advocacy groups designed to help close Connecticut’s achievement gap.

Laurel previously worked in both the Asset Management and Fixed Income divisions at the global banking firm Goldman Sachs. She also worked at Christie’s, the fine arts auction house, in New York City.

She received her Bachelor of Arts from Boston University and Master of Social Work from New York University. Laurel currently resides in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband and four young children.


William J. Bennett is one of America’s most important, influential and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Bill Bennett studied philosophy at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Texas (Ph.D.) and earned a law degree from Harvard. He is the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute and a Senior Advisor to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Over the course of his professional life, in education, government and the private sector, Dr. Bennett has succeeded in a trifecta of American institutions. He brings broad and deep experience achieved from a unique series of successes in several distinct fields: He is an award-winning professor in academia, having taught at Boston University, the University of Texas and Harvard; he is a three-time confirmed executive in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations including holding two cabinet-level positions, Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan and the Nation’s first Drug Czar under the first President Bush; he is the author of 20 books, including two New York Times Number One best sellers and two of the most successful books of the 1990s; he is the co-founder and served as the first Chairman of K12, Inc., a very successful online education company; and he is the host of the number seven ranked nationally syndicated radio show, Morning in America.

In his various roles, Dr. Bennett is perceived—even by his adversaries—as a man of strong, reasoned convictions who speaks candidly, eloquently, and honestly about some of the most important issues of our time.

Dr. Bennett’s latest book is The Fight of our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth & Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam. His three volume set of the history of the United States entitled America: The Last Best Hope, has been widely praised. The volumes have been adopted for school use in the State of Indiana and the City of New York, and are currently being adopted by other school systems around the country. As a communicator, Dr. Bennett has received rare acclaim. In 2002 he was named by focus groups and leading analysts the “Best Communicator of 2002,” and the most well-received public commentator on the issues of “pride, patriotism, faith, and moral conviction.” In April of 2005, the Sunday New York Times named Dr. Bennett the “leading spokesman of the Traditional Values wing of the Republican Party.”

Although he is a well-known Republican, Dr. Bennett often has crossed party lines in order to pursue important common purposes. He has worked closely with Democratic leaders such as Senator Joseph Lieberman to fight the decline of popular culture and to end worldwide religious persecution.

Thanks to his government positions, his writings and speeches, and thousands of media appearances, William Bennett has extraordinary influence on America’s political and social landscape. He now appears exclusively on cable television on CNN. He has been named one of the most influential individuals in America. He, his wife Elayne, and their two sons live in Maryland.


Dr. Bruce Cole is the President and CEO of the American Revolution Center (ARC), the first national institution devoted to exploring the history and continuing impact of the American Revolution. Before coming to ARC, Cole served as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), where he managed a budget of $150 million and a staff of 170 and was responsible for awards totaling over $800 million dollars. Appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2001 and again in 2005, Cole was the longest serving Chairman of the NEH. Under Cole’s leadership, the NEH launched key initiatives, including We the People, a program designed to encourage the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture, and the Picturing America project, which uses great American art to teach our nation’s history and culture in 80,000 schools and public libraries nationwide. He also created the NEH’s Digital Humanities Initiative and Office which made the Endowment a national leader in this new frontier of humanities access and knowledge. Under his tenure partnerships were developed with several foreign countries, including Mexico and China.

Cole’s connection with the Endowment began when he received an NEH fellowship. He subsequently served as a panelist in NEH’s peer review system, and then as a member for seven years of the National Council on the Humanities, the presidentially appointed and senate-confirmed 26-member NEH advisory board. Cole came to the Endowment in December 2001, from Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was Distinguished Professor of Art History and Professor of Comparative Literature. In 2008, he received the President’s Medal from the University for “excellence in service, achievement and teaching.” In 2006, Governor Mitch Daniels awarded Cole the Sagamore of the Wabash, which recognizes individuals who have brought distinction to the state of Indiana.

The medal is one of the highest honors the President can confer upon a civilian, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Earlier in 2008, Cole was decorated Knight of the Grand Cross, the highest honor of the Republic of Italy.


Jeremy Kinney is the President of Kinney Oil. He is the former Chairman of Opera Colorado, and currently serves as an Honorary Director of Opera Colorado. Mr. Kinney is the current Chairman of the Tesoro Foundation, doing business as the Tesoro Cultural Center (Tesoro means “treasure” in Spanish), whose mission is to protect and make available to the community the artistic treasures of the American past, with a special focus on the opening of the American Southwest. Mr. Kinney is also one of the founders of the Scientific Cultural Facilities Districts of Colorado, a special tax district in the Denver metropolitan area that supports art, culture, and science organizations to enrich the community. Mr. Kinney is a graduate of Yale University and received an MBA from Harvard. He is married to the former Holly Arnold.


Anita B. McBride was appointed as Executive in Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University’s School of Public Affairs in April 2010. Mrs. McBride was the committee chair for the “The Legacies of America’s First Ladies” conference held in March 2011, which examined both the powerful job and the women who, though unelected and unpaid, devoted themselves to it. “It’s a topic near and dear to my heart,” said Anita McBride.

From 2005 to 2009, she served as Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush. She was responsible for the First Lady’s policy, press, correspondence, scheduling and advance, speechwriting, and social offices and directed the staff’s work on the wide variety of issues in which Mrs. Bush was involved. As a senior member of President Bush’s staff, Mrs. McBride was responsible for working with West Wing policy advisors to coordinate the First Lady’s efforts in support of specific presidential policies and initiative including global health and education and human rights.

Mrs. McBride’s White House service spans two decades and three administrations. She joined the Reagan Administration in 1984. From 1987 to 1992, Mrs. McBride was Director of White House Personnel under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Mrs. McBride also served as Director of the Speakers Bureau at the United States Information Agency in 1992. Under President George W. Bush, Mrs. McBride served as Special Assistant to the President for White House Management. From 2001 to 2004, Mrs. McBride served in the State Department, where she was Senior Advisor to the Secretary and White House Liaison from 2001 to 2003 and then Senior Advisor in the Bureau of International Organizations in 2004. Mrs. McBride was a member of U.S. delegations to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2002, the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2003, and the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDSin 2006. Mrs. McBride’s private sector experience includes serving as project manager of the Smith Kline Beecham Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program, Science in the Summer. Mrs. McBride is a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a public-private partnership between the U.S. and Afghan governments, Georgetown University, and private-sector institutions. In 2008, Mrs. McBride was honored by the Afghan government for her commitment to Afghan issues. Mrs. McBride is a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Italian American Foundation and also serves as a Member of the Advisory Committee for the Mothers Day Every Day Campaign, which is a maternal and child health advocacy organization chaired by Ann Veneman and Donna Shalala.

Mrs. McBride received her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Connecticut in 1981, and studied international relations and foreign languages at American University in Washington and the University of Florence in Italy. Mrs. McBride is recipient of the National Guard and Reserve’s Patriot Award and the University of Connecticut’s President’s Award of Distinction.

Mrs. McBride was appointed to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board by President George W. Bush in January 2009.


Suzy Pence has enjoyed participating in the educational, philanthropic, cultural and political affairs of the Washington D.C. region for over forty years.

Suzy appreciates and supports multiple efforts to enhance the education of America’s younger generations. She has been active in building the new law school library at American University, as well as various construction campaigns at the Langley School (McLean, VA). With her husband Bob, a real estate developer, Suzy has created study abroad and scholarships for foreign travel for over 70 high school, college, law school, and graduate students.

Suzy, in support of Republican Congressional and Senate candidates as well as those for state and national office, has hosted many fundraising events in her home.
On a cultural level, Suzy is a member of the International Committee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She particularly enjoys supporting the programs and performances of the Shakespeare Theatre (Washington D.C.) and the Wolf Trap Foundation (Vienna, VA). The Pences are sincerely honored to serve as sponsors of many initiatives in support of the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Suzy received both her undergraduate degree and an M.L.S. from the University of Maryland. Suzy and her husband Bob, a real estate developer, live in Georgetown, Washington D.C. They have three sons and seven grandchildren.


Jeri Thompson is a stay at home mom, who in between car pools, play dates and classroom projects, provides commentary for a number of radio, TV and online outlets. Topics often include policy and politics in the context of how such things affect moms and families. She can frequently be seen on Fox News shows, including regular appearances on “Hannity.” She served as a co-host on the “Fred Thompson Radio Show,” something that was unavoidable because, first, former Sen. Fred Thompson is her husband, and second, the show was broadcast from their home studio.

For many years, Jeri worked as a communications and political consultant in Washington, D.C. She worked at the Republican National Committee, the Republican Senatorial Conference, Burson-Marsteller and the law firm of Verner Liipfert.

Jeri graduated with a degree in English literature from DePauw University in 1988. She currently serves on the nominations board of the Susan B. Anthony List, and has been involved in a number of political and philanthropic fundraising efforts over the years. She and Fred live in the Washington, DC area, with their two children, Hayden and Sammy.

Justice Anthony Kennedy (Born 1936) – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

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Republican President Dwight Eisenhower reputedly said that appointing Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justice William Brennan were among his biggest mistakes as president as they helped usher in a wave of liberal jurisprudence at odds with Eisenhower’s conservative philosophy.  Republican President George H.W. Bush might have said the same about Justice David Souter for the same reasons.  Finally, Republican President Ronald Reagan would have agreed that Justice Anthony Kennedy surprisingly became a swing vote who could lean left.

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Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

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In 2011, the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA). A California law prohibited the sale of violent video games to minors and required labelling of content and designation of suitable users. Parents would still have the choice to buy video games deemed violent and give them to their children. The law was challenged as violating the free speech rights of minors. Without getting into the raw details, as described in the state’s brief and acknowledged by some of the justices, these games invited the players to torture, murder, and humiliate characters. The attorneys for the purveyors of this entertainment assured the justices that such displays of violence were a traditional teaching tool for America’s youth, and that, unless children have unrestricted opportunity to purchase these materials, freedom of speech would be devastated.

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Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008) – Guest Essayist: State Representative David Eastman

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Does the Constitution Give Americans the Right to Vote Without Photo Identification?

In 2005, the State of Indiana passed a state law requiring that most Indiana voters who voted on Election Day would have to show government-issued photo ID before voting. The law provided an exception for those who lived in senior centers, and provided an alternate method of voting if you lost, forgot, or could not afford to get a photo ID. Note: The law also provided free state photo ID’s to those who did not already possess an Indiana driver’s license.

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Chris Foster, a descendent of President John Adams, is an independent insurance agent with Brown & Brown; past president of W.R. Reed & Company in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Oregon State University, Foster holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Science and has completed post-graduate studies in business. He is a former major in the Oregon Army Reserve and a Leadership Graduate of Oregon Military Academy.

Mr. Foster serves as a board member for Citizens for Local Accountability (COLA) in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He is precinct committee person for Clackamas County, Oregon, elected in 2010, and has distributed 4,000 copies of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence in 2010. Mr. Foster is also a volunteer fly fishing instructor with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. His hobbies include fishing, photography, and hunting.



Denise Fuller graduated from Texas A & M with a Bachelor of Science. During her time at Texas A & M, she was the Student Senator for the College of Education. She completed her post-graduate work at North Texas University with a Masters in Education. She taught and developed curriculum for Irving Independent School District (ISD) and for North Lake College.

She has been a member of the Junior League of Dallas since 1997 and has served on the board of Irving Cares. She spends time doing volunteer work with Meals on Wheels, MediSend, and Lift – Literacy Instruction for Texas.



Janice Gauntt is a top selling realtor in Tarrant County, Texas. She was born in San Antonio, Texas and educated at Trinity University. Janice is active in a number of civic organizations in the Tarrant County area.



Robert Gauntt received his BBA from the University of Texas in Austin, where he played Varsity Baseball for the 1983 NCAA Division I National Championship team. He worked for Paine Webber Inc. in New York City and London before entering the University of Texas Graduate School of Business, where he received his MBA in 1990. He joined Goldman Sachs in the summer of 1990 and was directly involved in equity portfolio management for private clients. At Morgan Stanley, Robert was responsible for the management of equity portfolios as well as advising families on asset allocation. Previously, Robert was the Director/President of H.O.P.E. Worldwide in Houston, President of the Board for his local congregation, a former member of the McCombs School of Business Advisory Council at UT and served on the Texas Growth Fund Board.

He currently serves on the board of West University Little League, the Endowment Committee at River Oaks Baptist School, Provision Charter School and serves on the UT Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee. In 2008, Robert was appointed to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas Board of Trustees ($105 billion fund, serving 1.3 ml teachers) and currently serves as Chairman of the Investment Committee.


Remembering Don Hodges:

Constituting America remembers and honors Mr. Don Hodges (1934-2015)
Mr. Don Hodges held the first event for Constituting Amerca, shortly after our launching in 2010. He served on our Advisory Board from 2010 until the day he passed away, January 21, 2015.

Mr. Hodges gave generously to Constituting America, as he did with all of the organizations he supported. He gave financially, but also gave of himself: his time, energy, advice and enthusiasm. We treasure our memories of his positive impact on our organization.

From Mr. Hodges’ Obituary in the Dallas Morning News:
“Donald Wayne Don Hodges, heralded financial advisor, selfless and dedicated counselor, mentor, devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, faithful Christian servant and staunch American business and entrepreneurship advocate, passed away January 21, 2015 from complications related to a blood disorder. Hodges was a man admired and revered by his industry peers and was loved deeply by his family that includes his wife of 59 years, Freddie, and their children, Camille Hodges-Hays, Craig Hodges and Clark Hodges. Don was a mentor and father figure to countless people over the years including business associates, employees and even his children’s friends. Don had a passion for investing in stocks but he had an even bigger passion for investing in people. He always found and appreciated the best qualities in others. – ”

Read Mr. Hodges’ Obituary HERE


Meg Bakich graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in Economics and French. She worked for Morgan Stanley at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading the S & P 500. After having her first child, she resigned from the company to focus on being a full-time mom.

Meg is a member of several organizations including Wipeout Kids Cancer (WOKC), Youth Services Men’s League, Christ the King Altar Society, The Dallas Metropolitan Ballet Guild and La Fiesta de Banderas. She was born and raised in Redwood City, California and currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband Huntley, and their five children.


Victoria Bauman has a diverse background in both film and politics. While in Hollywood, her resume includes working as a co-producer, consultant, and fundraiser for several independent film projects as well as DVD specials for Disney and FOX. In the political arena, Victoria has worked to raise money for many of California’s local and national politicians. Most notably was her time spent as a political consultant for Mercury Public Affairs out of their Los Angeles office where she was part of the California political fundraising team headed by Bill Simon for Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. Victoria worked as Constituting America’s Communications Director during the organization’s first year.


Gregory S. Casey became President & CEO of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) in 1999. He is a senior partner in the Idaho based consulting company, Veritas Advisors, LLP.

His record of public service includes Legislative Director and Chief of Staff to a member in the U.S. House of Representatives, Chief of Staff to a member of the U. S. Senate, Transition Director for the Governor of Idaho, Interior Transition Team for the President of the United States, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Senate Majority Leader and as an elected officer of Congress, serving as the 34th Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the United States Senate where he served as Chairman of both the United States Capitol Police Board and the Capitol Guide Service and on the Board of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Greg served or serves on the board of several organizations including the Idaho Council on Economic Education, Foundation for Free Enterprise, Boise Futures Foundations, The Executive Committee of the National Council of State Manufacturing Associations, University of Idaho Foundation and The George Washington University School of Political Management.

Greg graduated from The University of Idaho with a degree in Political Science and History, and has completed graduate programs in Legislative Affairs through the Library of Congress.

Greg regularly provides political commentary on national radio and television and is often quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post once referred to him as a “Washington all star.”


Holly Pellham Davis began her career as a model and then an actress where she won roles in many national and international television commercials, television shows and appeared on the silver screen.

Now, a devoted mother of two, Holly has combined her talents, dedication, and passion to raising her family in a clean, fresh, mostly organic home and environment. Fueled by her desire to help others make positive lifestyle choices for themselves, Holly founded, Clean Fresh Living, Inc., which promotes organic, healthy living and educates consumers on making life changing choices for themselves and their family.

She became the national spokesperson for in August 2009 and is dedicated to educating consumers about the importance of buying American-made products in order to help strengthen the U.S. economy.

Holly has been involved with many local charities including chairing events for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and The Family Place. Holly is a proud native Texan.


Lindi Harvey has more than 25 years as a corporate and government executive and has a wealth of fundraising, program management and business expertise. She has held several senior-level positions in the Federal government including serving as Deputy Director of the National Park Service for the U.S. Department of the Interior and as Deputy Director at the Office of Global Women’s Issues for the U.S. Department of State. In her capacity as Executive Director, Lindi has been selected to lead U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole’s Women’s Majority Network and for the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area. In her private sector career she served as Senior Vice President for the Geneva Strategies Division of Citigroup. Beyond her career accomplishments Lindi is a passionate advocate for community service, volunteerism and mentoring, and serves on many boards and advisory councils regarding child development, youth mentoring, health care, women’s leadership programs, and non-profit and charitable organizations. She is a recognized speaker and trainer at local, state, national, and international levels regarding advancement opportunities in civil society, public policy, community service, volunteerism, and entrepreneurship development.


As president of McCauley Logue Communications, Jennifer Logue employs her 20-plus years of broad-based communications experience to help clients expand their influence, amplify their impact and achieve their marketing goals. Her extensive communications experience includes writing for a daily newspaper, editing a quarterly journal and managing communications activities for a number of respected organizations. Companies that have benefited from Jennifer’s services include public broadcasting leader WGBH, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts, Phoenix International Publishing, the Housing Partnership Network, Hospitality Mutual Insurance and PBS’s respected investigative journalism series, Frontline.

Active in her local community, Jennifer served on the Quincy High School Siting Commission, the Quincy Tourism Advisory Council and the Mayor’s Leadership Council on Homelessness. She is a member and past president of the Quincy Lions Club, a former Registrar of Voters and a member of the South Shore Women’s Business Network.


LaRawn Scaife Rhea grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and was reared around the music industry where her father promoted the careers of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, and numerous other greats.

She is a graduate of Belmont College with a degree in Marketing and a concentration in Psychology. As a graduate LaRawn served on the Belmont Alumni Board. She has a love of photography and works as a freelance social photographer and journalist. Her work has been seen in many magazines.

LaRawn has worked with many non- profits including serving on the Executive Board of the Nashville Symphony League, The Horticultural Society of Middle Tennessee, Historic Belmont Mansion, The Nashville Ballet, and The Animal Welfare Fund. LaRawn conceived the idea of “The World’s Biggest Baby Shower” that led to Oprah Winfrey coming to the military base at Ft. Campbell to provide a baby shower for the 700+ military wives who were all expecting at the same time. The baby shower was taped and then aired on The Oprah Winfrey show.

She currently serves as Marketing Director for Chartwell Properties, a real estate development firm in Nashville, Tennessee. Her hobbies include reading, photography, travel, baking and gardening. LaRawn and Richard have two adopted rescue puppies, Diamond and Sparkle.



Jocelyn White is an award-winning TV and radio journalist whose programs have aired locally in Dallas-Fort Worth, and have been syndicated regionally and aired nationally on HDNet. Her passions are animal rescue, advocating understanding of autism, gardening and The Constitution!

Bush v. Gore (2000) And Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board (2000) – Guest Essayist: James D. Best

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The 2000 presidential election came down to who won Florida. Twenty-seven days after the election, the presidency remained undecided. Surrogates for George W. Bush and Al Gore clashed in a close-quarters fight that seemed to have no end.  Both parties persisted and refused to yield. The media filled nearly every broadcast moment and column inch of newsprint with the maneuvers and shenanigans of both parties. The pursuit of minutia, gossip, and a major scoop drove wall-to-wall reporting of the countless twists, turns, and skirmishes.

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McDonald v. Chicago (2010) – Guest Essayist: David Raney

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 McDonald v. Chicago case considered whether the Second Amendment’s protection of the individual right to possess and use privately-owned firearms as affirmed in the Court’s 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision also applies to state and local governments.

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District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) (Part 2) – Guest Essayist: David Raney

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case considered whether the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual right to possess and use privately-owned firearms.

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District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) – Guest Essayist: James D. Best

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District of Columbia v. Heller provided clarity to a long and quarrelsome debate about the application of the Second Amendment. The crux of the case was whether the right to “keep and bear arms” was an individual right or a collective right associated with regulated militias. The Supreme Court (5-4) ruled the Second Amendment an individual right.

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Happy Independence Day! Read The Declaration of Independence with your family and friends!

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Click Here to Hear Constituting America Founder & Co-Chair Actress Janine Turner read the Declaration of Independence!

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

From the National Archives website:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) – Guest Essayist: Steven H. Aden

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Vote: (5 to 4) Majority: Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito. Dissenters: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer.

Gonzales v. Carhart is one of those rare cases that highlights the difference an election can make to Supreme Court decision-making. While the Justices of the Supreme Court are (arguably) largely immune from political pressure because they serve for life, they are nominated by Presidents and confirmed by Senates that answer to the People. For this reason, the makeup of the Court is unavoidably a product of the political process, and this process can yield strikingly different results depending on the makeup of the bench.

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Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) And Worcester v. Georgia (1832) – Guest Essayist: John Vinzant

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In 1827, the state of Georgia passed several acts that affected the Cherokee Nation within Georgia’s borders.  Georgia extended criminal jurisdiction over crimes committed by Cherokees within the Cherokee Nation.  Traditionally and legally, the Cherokee had their own criminal jurisdiction.  The Georgia legislature also declared the Cherokees had no legal title to the land that the state would respect.  Consequently, surveyors were dispatched with military support to begin surveying Cherokee land for development and settlement.  The governor was authorized to take possession of Cherokee gold mines.  All contracts made between Georgia and the Indians were voided.  Georgia legislators believed the Cherokee, in light of events would leave voluntarily.

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Patt Parker is involved in grassroots organizations and serves as the 2nd Vice President of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW). Patt has worked as campaign manager for candidates at the local, state and national levels. She became active in grassroots after her retirement as a senior civilian from the Department of Defense. Her earlier career was as a teacher/administrator in Christian schools where she taught history and government. Patt serves on the Legislative Committee of the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce; Calvert County United Way Women’s Initiative, and as Christian Education director of Dunkirk Baptist Church.

Patt’s passion is to train leaders – national and international- and to work with people of all ages to know, appreciate and treasure the founding principles of our nation and in an understanding of the basics of democracy.

Patt received her Master of Science in National Security from the National War College and an MBA from Marymount University. Patt is the daughter, wife of a and mother of a veteran. She is the mother of two sons, and grandmother of four granddaughters. She lives in Dunkirk, Maryland with her husband Geoff and Australian Cattle Dog, Kiwi, and orange tabby cat, Flicker.



Rochelle A. Porto is a Philadelphia public elementary school teacher and the proud single mother of a 24-year-old daughter. A native of Wildwood Crest, NJ, Rochelle completed her education degree at Glassboro State/Rowan University. Upon graduation, she was employed by the American Red Cross in Philadelphia where she began a workplace health and safety education program. She took time off to raise her daughter and returned in 1993 to start a business in educational workplace health and safety and through this found her calling to become a teacher in literacy. In 1999, she began her current career as a public school teacher and finished her Masters in Education at St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. Then in 2009, she earned her Special Education Certification from Holy Family University. Rochelle is a second year candidate in the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. At school, she is hosting Patriot Clubs for grades 1-6. In the summer she continues her work through the Philadelphia Recreation Department. She is an active member of Constituting America, Saturday Morning in America and the Independence Hall Tea Party Association.


Bryant Pearson was born and raised in Russellville, Arkansas. He was educated at Arkansas State University where he graduated in 1986 with a BS degree in Political Science. In August of 1986 became a missionary to Uganda where he spent 2 years working with college and youth students He also spent time in Ethiopia during the “We are the World” feeding crisis working with the poorest of the poorest. After returning to the states he started his career as a financial professional with Primeria in 1989. In 1990, Mr. Pearson married his college sweetheart and they just celebrated 24 years of marriage. He has a 14 year old son and a 16 year daughter. He has volunteered and worked in the Garland Independent School District for more than 12 years. In 2007 he started The Bowtie Boys and has worked diligently since that time to make a difference in the lives of as many young men as possible.


Hi, my name is Tom McLaughlin and I teach 7th grade Texas History and 8th grade US History at “THE” Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in Dallas Independent School District. I have 8 years’ experience as a Social Studies Teacher. My previous careers include National Account Manager for Novacopy Inc, Retail Manager for the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, Customer Service Manager for Fotoball USA and Pepperidge Farms Route Driver. My favorite quote is by Albert Einstein – “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. That has been true throughout my life.

I began my working career fresh out of Seagoville High School in Dallas ISD by joining the US Navy in July 1978. In my 16+ years serving in the Navy I had the opportunity to visit many different countries throughout the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean and South American coast. While in the Navy, I served in a Leadership capacity at most of my duty stations, consistently being placed in a position of training my subordinates. A teaching career was always in the cards, I just didn’t know it. I retired from the US Navy in December 1993 as a Recruiter-in-Charge of Navy Recruiting Station Aurora, Colorado.

After retirement I decided to, as John Babsone Lane Soule stated, “GO WEST YOUNG MAN”. Now I know that most think Horace Greely said it first but check your History books. I went out to California to “see what was there”. The whole time I was out there I kept feeling a tug to “come home”. After finally coming home and working a variety of jobs, including Warehouse Manager for the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, I finally settled down to teaching Middle School Social Studies in the Dallas ISD. I have taught 6th grade World Cultures, 7th grade Texas Studies and 8th grade US Studies in my 8 years of teaching.

One of the many highlights in my teaching career includes getting on our local FOX TV stations on the 9 O’Clock and 10 O’Clock news for wearing a Tutu all day for my students. NOTE TO SELF – Do not bet the students if 95% pass the state test that you will wear a Tutu, especially if your Step Daughter works for the Evening News Anchor. I had 100% pass and 40% get Commended. Another highlight was getting to teach at Seagoville Middle School and having some of my students be the children of some of my classmates from Seagoville HS. What a blessing that was.

I now teach at “The” Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in the Dallas ISD AND I LOVE IT! Our main philosophy here is that we “TEACH AND THEN TEST, WE DO NOT TEACH TO THE TEST”. Our school mission statement is “Develop young men into impactful leaders through the development of their intellectual, moral, physical, social and emotional skills for the global society of tomorrow”. We have all made a commitment to this – teachers, parents and students – and it works. As our Principal, Nakia Douglas, is quick to tell people – “We are who we are and we make no excuses about it”. Parents, Teachers and Students coming together to ensure the student has the best education possible, not only while they are her but getting them prepared for what is to come.