TOWNSEND, Mont. — Townsend Middle School staff and students were recently recognized for their participation in the “What does the US Constitution mean to me” contest constructed by the Montana YouthVote Program. The contest, which was open to all Montana students K – 12, was announced on Friday, September 17, 2021, in honor of Constitution Day.
Townsend Middle School boasted the highest participation of any school in the state behind the educational effort of teacher Denise Bakkum.
“I’m excited to see that so many of you have taken the time to learn about our Constitution, which is the foundation of your rights as American citizens,” Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen said to the students. “I’m very thankful that your teacher, Mrs. Bakkum, encouraged your participation in the Constitution Contest, as this is the beginning of learning to share your ideas about what you believe life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be.”
Students joined Secretary Jacobsen in reading the Preamble from both the US Constitution and the Montana Constitution, then, Mrs. Bakkum joined Secretary Jacobsen to honor each student for their participation in the contest.
Eighth graders Lexi Davies and Logan Barkurst were named the second- and third-place winners, respectively, in the middle school division of the contest. Both students submitted essays and read them aloud in front of their peers.
“One thing that is so important about the Constitution is that it brings freedom to the people,” Davies read from her entry. “It gives us rights so we have freedom of speech, religion, and the press. … We the people are equal, united, and free, thanks to our Constitution.”
“Some people in the United States take the Constitution for granted. In other words, we are lacking a sense of patriotism in our beautiful country,” read Barkurst. “Without the Constitution, our country would be in complete chaos. I greatly appreciate the patriots who fought for our freedom. To be able to live in a land with the right to free speech, voting, and protecting is a true honor.”
Mrs. Bakkum was also honored for Townsend’s excellent participation in the contest, while Townsend Middle School as a whole was also recognized.
“What your teacher is teaching is so absolutely important,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “We just want to honor you and thank you for all the great work that you’re doing. It makes a huge impact.”