If aliens landed in Southwest Florida tomorrow and mandated that the humans had to choose which right from the Bill of Rights they get to keep – forfeiting all of the others – which one should the humans choose? Impossible question, isn’t it? It’s also a great way to invoke a lively discussion in a room full of middle and high school students about the U.S. Constitution. This, and much more, happened during this year’s Speakers in the Schools program, presented by the Lee County Bar Association.
Every September, the LCBA celebrates the drafting of America’s most important document by engaging the younger generation through its Speakers in the Schools program. LCBA’s Constitution Week ran from Monday, Sept. 12 to Friday, Sept. 16. The week-long celebration coincides with the national observance of Constitution Day on Sept. 16, commemorating the document’s signing in 1787.
For Speakers in the Schools, volunteer lawyers and judges take time out of their busy schedules to share their knowledge and unique perspective on what the Constitution means to them. The students are challenged with an interactive discussion to develop an appreciation for the rights guaranteed under the Constitution. While providing rich historical context, speakers help students grasp the impact the Constitution has in their everyday lives.
This year’s Speakers in the Schools program was a great success, with more than 30 LCBA members responding to educators’ requests for volunteers and presenting to multiple classes at: Bonita Middle, Challenger Middle, East Lee County H.S., Fort Myers Middle, Lehigh Senior H.S., Lexington Middle and Mariner High School.
Attorney James O’Leary serves as chair of the Constitution Week Speakers in the Schools program. He coordinated volunteers and educator requests, and provided classroom materials and presentation guidance to volunteers. Mr. O’Leary and several of the judge and lawyer volunteers are available for interviews upon request.