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September 17, 2010

STATE BAR PRESIDENT STEPHEN P. YOUNGER CELEBRATES 'CONSTITUTION AND CITIZENSHIP DAY' WITH STUDENTS IN BROOKLYN

Younger Teaches 5th Grade Students at The Robert Fulton School About the Importance and Meaning of the U.S. Constitution

Bringing the famous words "We the People" to life in a classroom in Brooklyn, New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP) today met with 5th-grade students at The Robert Fulton School and The Magnet School for Exploration, Research and Design (also known as P.S. 8) to celebrate 'Constitution and Citizenship Day.'

Younger and the 5th-grade students from Mrs. Julie Schultz's class discussed why the Constitution is such an important part of our daily lives as American citizens and its vital role in guiding the decisions made by our government representatives. Each student received a pocket Constitution and listened eagerly as Younger explained the meaning behind the famed opening words to the Constitution's Preamble, penned by delegates at the Constitutional Convention more than 200 years ago.

"When our Founding Fathers adopted the Constitution on September 17, 1787, they charted a bold, new course for American democracy," said President Younger. "Constitution and Citizenship Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of one of the most important documents in the history of the world and to help the next generation of leaders understand its significance. I want to thank Julie Schultz and all of the wonderful educators at The Robert Fulton School for inviting me here today."

The State Bar Association, its Law, Youth and Citizenship (LYC) Committee and other partners have also created a website (www.nysba.org/ConstitutionDay) packed with a wealth of resources to help educators, civic groups and parents create meaningful and engaging activities and lesson plans to commemorate 'Constitution and Citizenship Day.'

Among the helpful programs and resources offered on the LYC Committee's Constitution and Citizenship Day website are:

• Center for Civic Education www.civiced.org:  Lessons for grades K-12 are available at no cost on the Center's website at constitutionday.civiced.org. These lessons, designed to assist schools and federal agencies to meet the requirements of the legislation, have been adapted from the Center's We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution and Foundations of Democracy curricular materials. Audio recordings of selected Constitution Day lessons are also available on the Center's website.

• iCivics   http://www.icivics.org/teachers: Students will learn how and why our Constitution was created, and some of its key characteristics. They will also explore key amendments to the Constitution and their application in protecting citizens' rights.

• The Constitutional Sources Project  www.consource.org: ConSource was founded in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the singular goal of creating and maintaining the first, free, fully-indexed, comprehensive online library of constitutional sources. Its mission is to facilitate research and encourage discussion of the U.S. Constitution by connecting individuals - including students, teachers, lawyers and judges - with the documentary history of its creation, ratification and amendment. 

Congress passed legislation in 2004 requiring educational institutions that receive federal funding to present a program focused on the Constitution each year on September 17th - now known as 'Constitution and Citizenship Day' - to observe the anniversary of the signing of the famed document.

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The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.