In a ceremony at the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover on Dec. 8, 2018, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock presented awards celebrating participants in the Seventeenth Delaware Day Fourth Grade Competition. More than 530 students from 19 schools across the state took part in this year’s activities.
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 historical accuracy, spelling and creativity.
Commenting on the competition, Bullock noted, “Every year, Delawareans make special note of the day that our home earned its nickname, The First State, and every year I continue to be impressed by the creativity, knowledge and critical thinking on display in the projects that our fourth graders present to demonstrate their understanding of Delaware’s role in the American story.”
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 2018 competition are the George Read Award to Bunker Hill Elementary School in Middletown; the Gunning Bedford, Jr. Award to Robert S. Gallaher Elementary School in Newark; the John Dickinson Award to Lake Forest Central Elementary School in Felton; the Richard Bassett Award to Laurel Elementary School; and the Jacob Broom Award (tie) to Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Wilmington and the Learning Express Academy in Newark.
Honorable Mention awards were presented to Fairview, William B. Keene, May B. Leasure, Olive B. Loss, Joseph M. McVey, Lulu Ross, Booker T. Washington and Etta J. Wilson elementary schools; Ursuline and UrbanPromise academies; All Saints and Christ the Teacher Catholic schools; and Epworth Christian School.
Artistic Merit Awards, reviewed by the Delaware Division of the Arts, 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, Robert S. Gallaher, Lake Forest Central and Laurel elementary schools. Honorable-mention awards in the Artistic Merit category were presented to Fairview and Lulu Ross elementary schools, and the UrbanPromise Academy.
The 2018 Delaware Day Student Competition was planned and organized by Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ consultant Kathleen Doyle in cooperation with representatives of Delaware’s departments of State and Education. Several Department of State employees, including the division’s Beverly Laing, served as judges for the competition.