May I share with you why, in spite of all the challenges our nation faces, I am hopeful, even optimistic for its future?
I’m optimistic because of students like Courtney, a 17-year-old in Texas, who used her talents as a singer and lyricist to write and produce an original music video to teach Constitutional principles to high school students.
I’m optimistic because of students like Simran, a 13-year-old in Georgia, who in an essay about the Constitution was able to explain how the Constitution’s separation of powers and checks and balances protect our freedoms.
I’m optimistic because of students like Gianna, a 15-year-old in Virginia who built a Constitution-themed website to teach students, including a section depicting “The Amendments in LEGO’s” – a must-see!
I’m optimistic because of students like Elise, an 8-year-old in Texas, who began her poem We The People with these lines: “Without the Constitution/We’d be lost/With no rules and no order/It’d be pure chaos.”
I’m optimistic because of students like Joaddan, a 17-year-old in Maryland, who produced a public service announcement to encourage civil civic conversations.
How was I fortunate enough to see all these inspiring original projects? They’re just a small sample of the thousands of entries Constituting America Founder Janine Turner and I have received over the past few years for Constituting America’s We The Future Contest.
Amid roiling debate about what the Constitution means and even whether it’s worth keeping, these students represent tremendous hope for the future – and that’s why I’m writing you today, with a special opportunity to sponsor and support these wonderful young people.
It’s easy today to find stories about young people who don’t understand the Constitution or its history – and who of course don’t value the freedoms or honor the responsibilities embedded in it.
But studying the Framers of the Constitution reminds us that hope for the future is part of America’s DNA – and spending time with the We the Future Contest winners always reminds me of that same truth.
Each year, the We the Future Contest draws entries from students in kindergarten through college. We welcome films, public service announcements (PSA’s) essays, speeches, songs, artwork, and STEM and entrepreneurial categories, as students use their specialties and passions to creatively express what the Constitution means to them.
Their creations form the backbone of a public awareness campaign that has so far achieved 163 million winning song impressions on 81 radio stations, 18.9 million household views of PSA’s via 275 television stations, and 60,000 views of our winning films at 76 different film festivals.
Our older contest winners earn college scholarships, and our middle school – grad school/teacher winners join us for an all-expenses-paid trip to a major city where they receive mentoring from national leaders in politics, journalism, entertainment, and the arts.
Our most recent group of winners visited the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., where they received exclusive tours of the White House and State Department, and even had a private question-and-answer session with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
A highlight of the trip is the chance for each of our winners to receive personal mentoring from outstanding individuals in their fields!
Students entering original short videos have received mentoring from acclaimed filmmaker Gary Sinise. Those penning original songs about the Constitution have spent time with country music legend Vince Gill. And those with a talent for writing have gotten advice from anchor and historian Bret Baier.
Taking the time and care to mentor our winners at this level will propel their careers as future cultural leaders – singers, songwriters, screenwriters, directors, actors, and journalists – who truly understand and appreciate the Constitution.
Already, many of these bright and patriotic young people are continuing to give of their talents in teaching and inspiring others long after the contest is over. We the Future Contest winners have co-hosted our new Constitutional Chats podcasts, performed during our Constitution Day celebrations, and volunteered as peer teachers.
This is why Janine and I are so optimistic for the future of our nation! With your support, we are building a nationwide network of young people who are deeply attached to the Constitution and its principles and committed to helping others learn about them.
More broadly, this program is inspiring the younger generation to see our founding principles and documents, and the history that undergirds them, as something exciting and inspiring; we are creating a generation who not only understands the Constitution, but who is passionately attached to it.
That’s why we’re asking you to share in this special opportunity to sponsor our We The Future Contest winners’ scholarships and mentoring programs.
Your special gift of $500 will sponsor the marketing and promotion of the best contest entries through social media and online channels, ensuring that these messages reach an audience of millions.
Your special gift of $1,000 will provide a scholarship to one high-school contest winner, setting him or her on a path to be one of America’s future leaders, continuing to champion the Constitution.
Your special gift of $2,500 will sponsor one student winner’s scholarship prize and mentoring, offering the experience of a lifetime and the chance to keep developing his or her leadership, creative, and intellectual abilities.
Your special gift of $5,000 or more will sponsor an age category: Middle School, High School, College or Teacher/Grad Student.
Truly, a gift of any amount will help. Please consider giving whatever amount you deem appropriate. Whether that’s $100 or $10,000, I can assure you it will be put to good use, inspiring young people to appreciate and hold dear our United States Constitution.
Your support for the We the Future Contest makes it possible for Constituting America to identify, mentor, and activate the nation’s most promising young advocates for the system of ordered liberty that the Framers envisioned.
I hope you’ll make a special gift today to help recognize the amazing young people who are our 2020-2021 We the Future Contest winners.
I know that they’ll give us all plenty of cause for the optimism that is truly America’s birthright.
Cathy Gillespie, President
PS – Click here to get to know all our We The Future Contest winners and view their winning works! And watch for our Winner Wednesday Newsletters launching soon!
Click here to sponsor our winners now!