Nebraska State Bar Foundation

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News Constitution Day 2009: Ben Franklin LIVE

Constitution Day 2009: Ben Franklin LIVE

Elena Dodd as Eleanor Roosevelt
Christopher Lowell as Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin was our most beloved Founding Father who signed all four of the key documents that established our Republic. His life is a showcase of patriotism, community service, life-long learning, and scientific achievement. Therefore, it is fitting that Ben Franklin re-enactor Chris Lowell, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, present his “Ben Franklin Live” Chautauqua-style performance on September 14 in celebration of Constitution Day in Nebraska.

Constitution Day 2009
Ben Franklin LIVE Picture Gallery
The morning session, which targeted fifth-grade students, originated from Windy Hills Elementary School. Students at Hershey, Loup City, and Pleasanton also participated via distance learning technology provided by Educational Service Unit (ESU) 10.

The afternoon session, which focused on upper level students, originated from ESU 10. Two sections of American History student from Kearney Catholic comprised the live audience, while students from Loup City and Pleasanton were able to interact with “Ben Franklin” by distance learning.
A number of other schools joined both the morning and afternoon sessions via “streaming” connections that allowed them to observe the Constitution Day programs in a one-way connection.

Lowell appeared in character as Ben Franklin, discussing his historic role in the founding of the nation and then fielded questions from students. Lowell stressed the importance of working hard and staying in school. He also challenged all of the students to do something good for other people and to become engaged citizens.

“Ben Franklin Live” took students from July 4, 1776, to September 17, 1787, featuring:
  • Greetings and reflections on public education and Ben’s own limited formal education
  • A brief discussion of the key areas of Ben’s life: youth and apprenticeship, business career, civic contributions and scientific inquiries, experiments, and inventions
  • A look into Ben as a pubic servant first to his colony, then to several colonies, then to his new nation
A Social Studies Methods class for aspiring elementary school teachers at the University of Nebraska at Kearney also observed the event. The class will plan a post Constitution Day activity based on the life and work of Ben Franklin for each elementary school in the Kearney Public School system. Windy Hills Principal Jerry Gloystein and fifth grade teacher Andrew Kamler are working with Methods instructor Ed Walker to plan this activity.

Justice John F. Wright, Nebraska Supreme Court, introduced both the morning and afternoon sessions. He was also guest of honor at a Constitution Day luncheon coordinated by the Buffalo County Bar Association.

Distance Learning Pilot Project

This year’s distance delivery of programming is a pilot project to study the feasibility of creating and disseminating classroom enrichment activities about the United States legal system to more Nebraska schools. The Bar Foundation and Supreme Court both host educational events and programs and are excited to expand these educational opportunities to students and educators everywhere in Nebraska.

Flavel A. Wright Fund

Lowell’s presentation in Nebraska is underwritten by the Bar Foundation’s Flavel A. Wright Fund for the Study of Constitutional Law. The fund was created in 2004 by Foundation Fellow Bill Wright in honor of his late father and first Bar Foundation President, Flavel A. Wright.

Law-Related Education