In a recognition ceremony held at the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover on Dec. 5, 2015, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock presented awards celebrating the work of 1,200 participants from 21 schools across the state who took part in the 2015 Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition. Over the past 14 years, more than 11,000 students have participated in the program.
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 Fourth Grade Competition encourages students to study the Constitution and to discover Delaware’s role in its writing and ratification. Students’ observations are presented in a four-panel display format that incorporates prose, artwork, songs and political cartoons. Each display is reviewed for factual accuracy, spelling and creativity.
Questions for this year’s competition required students to learn about the five individuals who represented Delaware at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia; and explore issues discussed by the delegates; review Article IV (how states are admitted to the Union), Article V (the amendment process), Article VII (the ratification process), the Bill of Rights (2015 is the 225th anniversary of Delaware’s ratification of the Bill of Rights on Jan. 28, 1790), and the petition process by which Delaware Day was established 82 years ago.
Each of the competition’s winning schools was 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 2015 competition are the George Read Award to the 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 (tie) to Booker T. Washington and North Dover elementary schools, both in Dover; and the Richard Bassett Award to Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Seaford.
Honorable-mention awards were presented to Brader, Downes, Jones, Keene, Leasure, McVey, Mt. Pleasant, North Star, Oberle, Star Hill, Wilson and Sunnyside elementary schools; Calvary Christian Academy; and Christ the Teacher and Wilmington Friends schools.
Special Artistic Merit Awards, reviewed by the Delaware Division of the Arts with assistance from the Newark Arts Alliance, were also announced during the ceremony. Schools honored with this award were Bunker Hill, Frederick Douglass, Gallaher, North Dover and Star Hill elementary schools. Artistic Merit Honorable Mention awards were presented to Sunnyside Elementary and Wilmington Friends schools. As part of the Artistic Merit Awards process, financial assistance for up to $50 worth of art supplies was provided to participating schools through a Division of the Arts grant awarded to the Newark Arts Alliance.
The 2015 Delaware Day Student Competition was planned and organized by Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ historian and National Register coordinator Madeline Dunn in consultation with representatives of Delaware’s departments of State and Education. Participation by other Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs staff-members included service as judges of the student-developed projects, development of awards certificates and printed materials, set-up of the awards-program location and staffing at the event.
Go to the following for photographs of displays created by participating schools.