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On Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, more than 300 students, teachers and family members gathered at the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover for the presentation of awards for the 18th annual Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition. Earlier in the school year, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock invited fourth grade teachers throughout the state to participate in this program which educates students about the U.S. Constitution, Delaware’s role in its creation and ratification, and the importance of voting. Students were asked to answer multiple questions in four categories and place their answers, using original artwork, on two sets of presentation panels. The panels from the 2019 competition were displayed on the second floor of Legislative Hall in Dover from Nov. 13 to Dec. 12, 2019.
Delaware Day commemorates the anniversary of Delaware becoming the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 7, 1787. Six months later, on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document thereby providing the two-thirds majority of the states needed to establish the Constitution as the law of the land.
Sponsored annually by Delaware’s secretary of state, the competition encourages students to study the Constitution and to discover Delaware’s role in its writing and ratification. Students’ observations are presented in a panel-display format that incorporates prose, artwork, songs and political cartoons. Each display is reviewed for the accuracy of student answers to each panel question; the clarity and relevance of the pictures and graphics; the accuracy of writing mechanics; and the level of neatness, creativity, organization and attention to detail.
Each of the competition’s winning schools is recognized with a Signer’s Award named for one of Delaware’s five signatories of the U.S. Constitution. The Signer’s Awards for the 2019 competition are the George Read Award to Robert S. Gallaher Elementary School in Newark; the Gunning Bedford Jr. Award to Bunker Hill Elementary School in Middletown; the Jacob Broom Award to the Learning Express Academy in Newark; the John Dickinson Award to Lake Forest Central Elementary School in Felton; and the Richard Bassett Award to Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Wilmington.
Honorable Mention awards were presented to All Saints Catholic School in Wilmington, Christ the Teacher Catholic School in Newark, Epworth Christian School in Laurel, Hartly Elementary School, Middletown-Odessa-Townsend Charter K-8 Academy in Middletown, North Dover Elementary School, Ursuline Academy in Wilmington and William B. Keene Elementary School in Newark.
Artistic Merit Awards were also announced during the ceremony. These awards recognized projects whose overall visual design and impact, composition, cohesiveness and originality represented artistic excellence. Schools honored in this category were Bunker Hill and Robert S. Gallaher elementary schools; Christ the Teacher Catholic School; and the Learning Express Academy. Honorable-mention awards in the Artistic Merit category were presented to Epworth Christian School and Lake Forest Central Elementary School.
The 2019 Delaware Day Fourth Grade Student Competition was planned and organized by the Delaware Department of State’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs in cooperation with representatives of Delaware Public Archives and the Division of the Arts. Several Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs employees served as judges for the history competition while employees of the Division of the Arts judged the entries on their artistic merits.