SHERIDAN, Mont. — Students and staff at Sheridan High School were recently honored for their participation in the “What does the US Constitution mean to me” contest. Sheridan, led by teacher April Wuelfing, boasted the highest percentage of participation of any high school in Montana.
“Typically, I do incorporate some sort of lesson around Constitution Day, the 17th of September,” said Wuelfing. “The kids had about four days to really work on it, but on their own interest, they took a big effort in studying the Constitution and learning about that on their own and just what it means to them personally, as an American and as future voters, really, as an 18-year-old getting ready to head out into the world and to safeguard those freedoms more than ever provided their age. I think that’s what inspired them to write as well as they did.”
“Originally she just told us it was going to be a class assignment,” said Sheridan senior Jenna Nate. “Then she found out about this competition, and that kind of gave us a little bit more drive to work harder.”
Senior classmates Jenna Nate and Brooke Grow received additional honors after their entries won first- and third-place honors, respectively. Both students spoke of the importance of the US Constitution and how it relates to their daily lives.
“My two amendments (in my entry) were the First and Nineteenth, women’s suffrage and the rights of the people,” Brooke explained. “That’s what our entire society is based on today is everybody getting equal rights and freedom to do whatever they want. It’s kind of what made it easy because I was very opinionated on that part.”
“It was awesome for me. I was completely amazed by that, that Americans have that much power,” said Nate. “We always hear about the Constitution, but you don’t really realize the power of it until you get right into it.”
Sheridan students were quick to credit Mrs. Wuelfing for her consistent education surrounding the Constitution, which gives students an understanding of their government and prepares them to become active voters.
“I would say it’s pretty important. I mean, when you think about it, you’re only one person, but really that one voice can have such a big power,” said Nate. “We learned about one person who wanted to pass, he was a college student, and he wanted to pass something; just a simple college student, but he was able to get it done.”
“It’s very cool. It gives us a lot of opportunities that you wouldn’t really expect if you weren’t in class,” said Grow.
“I’m very proud of them,” said Wuelfing. “Each one of them had something they could relate to personally. Of course, the Second Amendment is really big on a lot of the kids’ minds here providing where we live, Sheridan and hunting. And then, just like I said, safeguarding the personal freedoms of the right to speech that’s constantly being kind of challenged and what they’re familiar with, the social media and whatnot. So they all had something to say that was important to them.”