Lincoln Middle School students recognize Constitution Day

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published September 20, 2019

 Lincoln Middle School eighth grade student Shashemane Reid participates in the school’s Constitution Day celebration Sept. 17.

Lincoln Middle School eighth grade student Shashemane Reid participates in the school’s Constitution Day celebration Sept. 17.

Photo by Donna Agusti


WARREN — Red, white and blue filled the Van Dyke Public Schools auditorium Sept. 17 as the Lincoln Middle School student body recognized Constitution Day.

Constitution Day honors the day when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the U.S. It is the source of all government powers, and it also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of U.S. citizens.

Through music and speeches, the middle school students — waving American flags — gained a new understanding of the Constitution during an assembly organized by teachers Franz-Llesh Grishaj, Mary Lynn Peterson, Megan Dunn and Dan Bienkowski.

Grishaj’s parents were born in Albania under communist rule. His father fled the country in 1956 and his mother fled in 1959. They met in a refugee camp in Croatia in 1960 and married in 1961 in Belgium. Grishaj was born in Belgium and moved with his family to the U.S. when he was 8.

“This is my adopted country,” he said. “My adopted country gives me what no other country has. This is my way of giving back.”

Several eighth grade students — dressed in patriotic pants, shirts, vests, headbands, hats and beads — presented facts about the Constitution. Learning about the Constitution is part of the eighth grade curriculum.

Members of the Lincoln High School marching band joined in on the occasion by performing a number of Motown classics and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” LHS and LMS choir students also performed for the crowd.

In a sparkling red, white and blue vest with a matching hat and accessories, eighth grade student Alana Clark served as the event’s emcee.

“I enjoyed being up there in general,” she said. “I believe the students will know a little bit more about America. I believe it’s very important we celebrate (Constitution Day).”

During the assembly, each presenting student took on different roles. Shashemane Reid and Emily Rose explained what Constitution Day is. Anthony Golick and Corey Charleson shared details regarding the Constitution’s history.

Breanna Lozon and Micah Williams discussed the preamble — a brief introductory statement of the Constitution’s fundamental purposes and guiding principles.

Isabella Randolph and Jasmine Dupree addressed the Bill of Rights, which is the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791. Sierra Valuet and Carlin Mertens shared the remaining 17 amendments.

Zsanae Ivey-Triplett, who read the poem “One Nation Under God,” felt it was a good idea for the students to recognize Constitution Day.

“It shows some people we are free,” she said. “We have freedoms other people don’t have.”

Hunter Perry was in charge of reciting the poem “Americans in Strength.”

“We’ll pull together, near and far,” he read. “Determination, filled with pride. Our people’s will won’t be denied.”

At the end of the ceremony, LMS Principal Victor Breithaupt gave the students a pep talk to prepare them for the school year. He talked to the students about fear.

“Fear can be healthy,” he said. “Fear can also be a deterrent to us.”

With a PowerPoint presentation, he displayed a number of famous people who found success in life, but also endured many failures. They included baseball great Babe Ruth, composer Ludwig van Beethoven, physicist Albert Einstein, writer Dr. Seuss, rapper and producer Jay-Z, KFC founder Colonel Sanders, President Abraham Lincoln and basketball star Michael Jordan.

“When someone says you aren’t good enough or when you take that test … we don’t give up,” Breithaupt said. “We just keep going.”