Dickinson Middle School celebrated Constitution and Citizenship Day on Tuesday with an assembly.
The social studies department commemorated the signing of the U.S. Constitution and reflected on what it means to be a citizen by organizing an annual assembly in honor of the holiday and in observance of 9/11. Students, teachers and community members spoke about the importance of the flag, the national anthem, the history of the constitution, what it means to be a citizen and 9/11.
Superintendent Shon Hocker spoke to students about citizenship.
"Soon, you’re going to be 18 years old and you get to do even more things to support your community. Some of those things might include even voting," he said. "Many of you, your parents got to vote on a school referendum last week. However, we only had just short of 4,000 people come out and cast their vote. I would encourage you to ask your parents, ‘Did you guys go vote?’ Become involved, learn what that process is like and be excited to be participants in building a community that you all really like … and want to be part of."
Carla Schaeffer, a sixth grade teacher, addressed the student body about 9/11 and the memorial in honor of those who perished.
"Five years ago, my husband and I were at the memorial grounds, and the thing that struck us was how quiet and how still things were there. In honor of the lives lost on Sept. 11, we will have a silent dismissal back to your classrooms," she said.
The silent dismissal was history teacher Sarah Crossingham's favorite part.
"It was the first time that I saw a group of students silently reflecting on this horrible tragedy that happened, and to me it was very powerful to see that," she said.
Members of the Dickinson police and fire departments and Army National Guard are also invited each year. The school's resource officer, Tiffany Whinery, said their presence at the assembly helps humanize them.
"I think for them to be able to see all of us here and not just responding to a call with lights and sirens, they get to see that … these are good people. They really, truly are here for the community," she said.
"I feel like it’s really important for kids to put faces to our first responders so they know that these are moms; these are dads; these are uncles; these are cousins; these are people in our community," she said.