Area residents to teach youth about U.S. Constitution

Liliana Castillo

A group of Curry County citizens will be teaching young people about the U.S. Constitution through a pilot program this summer in Clovis.

The group, consisting of Clovis Christian School Superintendent Ladona Clayton, Clovis resident Bill Henry, Curry County Commission Chairman Caleb Chandler, Clovis resident David Petty, Texico Municipal Schools Superintendent R.L. Richards, gathered and decided that young people need to learn more about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers who created it.

“Young people need to understand the Constitution and what it means to them,” Clayton said.

The Vacation Liberty School, fashioned in the vacation Bible school format, is intended to teach children age 10 to 15 about how the principles of liberty — with a fundamental focus on faith, hope, and charity — shaped the nation and what they mean for the country now.

“We’ve lost a lot of that history,” Clayton said. “It is no longer taught today. Faith did play such a central role in the lives of our Founding Fathers, the colonists and the establishment of the U.S.”

The concept for the Vacation Liberty School is an offshoot of The 9/12 Project, which is a non-partisan movement that endorses nine principles on which the Founding Fathers built this country and 12 values that reflect character qualities they held dear. One of the primary components of the mission of The Project is to understand and educate others on our nation’s founding documents.

Clayton said there is a national trend to ensure that people of all ages become reacquainted with the Constitution and the roots of the country.

“An effort has come about across the USA from different groups to get the voice of the people reignited when it comes to their government,” Clayton said. “We should be more involved but we must become more knowledgeable. That’s what this is about. If we want liberty to persist in our great nation, then we must teach future generations the principles that support liberty’s existence. This is our responsibility.”

Clayton said Henry is passionate about reacquainting Americans with what the Constitution was intended to be when it was written.

“There is this idea that so many people are upset about the lack of knowledge that the citizens have of what to do to work for and try to save our country,” Henry said. “It occurred to me that if I just thought about it and fumed about it and never worked on it, I was no better than the other people were.”

He began to talk to like-minded people in the area and they came up with the idea to work with schools to build a program of teaching people of all ages about the Constitution.

VLS will also teach young people fundamental concepts about economics and economic freedom.

Clayton said the concepts of economics and freedom will be woven throughout the school.

As the students progress through lessons on liberty through a series of activities, they will earn gold nuggets, in this case butterscotch candies, which can be used at a store. The nuggets will progress into paper money and coins and then the students will learn to adjust for inflation.

“While they’re really learning about the founding era as a whole, it’s important that they also learn work ethic. It was a very key concept in the founding era,” Clayton said. “It was vital for everyone to work and to earn their keep.”

Clayton, who will be teaching the classes with two or three certified teachers, said the process will also teach students how to earn money to buy products they need rather than overextending themselves.

Students will also study different forms of government and how they work.

Clayton said for the pilot VLS, she has invited students from CCS and Texico schools to begin to the work with smaller schools and will be taking 30 students who can commit to the full five day course. She plans on expanding VLS sessions next summer and hopes to rewrite the school’s curriculum so it can be used in a public school setting and for adults.

Chandler said the school will also teach people why the Constitution is still important to freedom today. He said not many settings have the liberty to talk about the details of why the Constitution was created, how it was created and the lifestyles of the people who wrote it.

“People do not learn why it is so important to our freedom and our quality of life,” he said.

Chandler said because the Constitution is a living document and it changes, it is important to learn what it was when it was written in 1787.

“The Constitution today is different than what it started as,” he said. “I think it’s important to kind of get back to our roots. The way it’s being interpreted is very different. Our young people at the very least need to know what the intention of our Founding Fathers was.”

Fast Facts

What: Vacation Liberty School

When: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., July 25-29

Where: Clovis Christian School, elementary campus

Deadline to register: May 30

Information: 763-5311 or 935-2279