West BloomfieldJuly 26, 2012
Group promotes firsthand experience of founding documents
By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer
WEST BLOOMFIELD — The halls of power and history opened to a Groves High School student who recently visited Washington, D.C., to witness America’s founding documents.
Evan Simon, 16, of West Bloomfield journeyed to the nation’s capital July 9-14 as part of a Constitutional Academy program for high schoolers managed by the Virginia-based Bill of Rights Institute.
Simon said the trip was a learning experience fueled by his love of politics, and he signed up after one of his teachers told him about it and gave him a recommendation.
“I just like to meet new people from all over the U.S. … and talk about politics and maybe learn a few new things,” Simon said.
Simon was able to attend the program due to a scholarship from the Ford Motor Co. Fund.
The Constitutional Academy students’ week in D.C. also sent them to several lectures about the 1700s taught by professors. Various political groups introduced themselves to the students, Simon said.
Bill of Rights Institute spokeswoman Rachel Gillespie said the Constitutional Academy was created to help high school students dig into the founding documents on their own rather than learn about them secondhand.
She said the program attracts a mix of students, though virtually all of them have an interest in history.
“How much knowledge or experience they have with the documents will vary a lot of times,” she said. “For some students, it’s the first time they’ve read the actual Constitution rather than the summary of it from their textbooks.”
Soon after arriving to the nation’s capital, Simon visited the U.S. Capitol and spoke to some congressmen, including U.S. House Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.
“I gave him my business card, and he gave me his,” Simon said.
Simon later explored the National Archives, where he saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights up close and personal. Nothing surprised him during the tour, but he still called the experience fun and interesting. “I felt very patriotic when I was there,” he said.
Upon returning from his Washington, D.C., experience, Simon is now considering whether he should become a lawyer and then a politician or take a managerial role in the music industry.
The teen explained that he is getting an early start on the latter by representing some local talent. “They’re rappers form my school,” he said. “I’m their manager.”
Find out more about the Bill of Rights Institute at www.BillofRightsInstitute.org.
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