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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 1 month ago

Winter Garden homeschool group celebrates Constitution Day

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Classical Conversations celebrated with presentations on the United States and its history.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

The homeschooled students of Classical Conversations in Winter Garden traveled back in time recently to celebrate Constitution Day.

Constitution Day “commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 brave men on Sept. 17, 1787, recognizing all who are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens,” according to the Constitution Day website.

The students and the community came together Sept. 17 to celebrate the 234th anniversary of the constitution at Calvary Baptist Church.

Ninth-grade class director Rebecca Garcia, who has been with the Classical Conversations program for nine years now, said the class, also known as the Challenge One program, is spending the semester studying the full context of the original documents that formed the foundation as a nation.

“The constitution points us to purpose and to an idea of how we can live,” Garcia said. “It’s more than just something confined to the books, museums and behind tempered glasses. It’s an extension of a goal that we can be striving for and remember.”

Garcia said she believes it is important for the students to understand their own history and legacy, so that one day they, too, can pass it on.

Ten students from the ninth-grade class attended, as well as 11 students from the younger class.

The students invited friends, family, pastors, congressmen, circuit court judges and veterans who have served the country, to attend.

Attendees included Pam Jones, who represented U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster; Orange County Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Joy Gibson; and Air Force veteran A.J. John.

The students began the celebration by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and playing the national anthem. The younger classes then recited the preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the names of every president in the nation’s history in order, from memory.

Garcia and the ninth-grade class also each shared a unique component to what they felt makes the nation so special. Students presented a love letter to the Constitution, stories of immigration, the history behind the Statue of Liberty, poetry about the Star-Spangled Banner, the true history behind “Hamilton: An American Musical,” American storytelling through homemade pies, information about the branches of the military and more.

Garcia said the original expository speeches and selected published pieces of poetry were presented with “excellence and reverence for the momentous occasion.”

The event concluded with a testimony of true U.S. citizenship by a family friend of one of the families, Anita Barretto.

Barretto shared about the religious freedom she sought, the home education opportunity she desired and how her family was granted citizenship just recently, as they transitioned to Florida from India.

“In all, this ceremony was an opportunity for our community to open its doors to display our love for learning, our love for our country and our love for our neighbors,” Garcia said.

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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