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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis visits with Canterbury Middle School students as part of 2017 Constitution Day.

  • Papagiannis

Monday, October 02, 2017 1:00 am

Education Notebook

Judges take Constitution into schools

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Judges Wendy Davis and David Avery weren't dressed the part when they spoke to students at two schools last month, but the lack of their black robes didn't lessen the impact of their lessons.

The Allen Superior Court judges visited Canterbury Middle School and Woodlan Elementary School as Indiana courts recognized Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitution was signed Sept. 17, 1787.

They were met with energetic, engaged students, said John McGauley, court executive. Davis visited Canterbury, and Avery went to Woodlan.

“These kids found this interesting,” McGauley said. “ ... Neither of them had to drag answers out of people.”

Both judges described the three branches of government, McGauley said. Davis also illustrated how the courtroom works in a kid-friendly way, he said, and Avery – armed with prizes – challenged students to a game about the Constitution.

“I'm 49, and there were some questions I got wrong,” McGauley said.

Canterbury teaches We the People, a civic education program, so students are used to talking about the Constitution, social studies teacher LeaAnne Bernstein said.

She invited Davis to speak, she said, and the judge set up a mock altercation between students and explained how the Constitution would work to protect their rights.

“The Constitution is something to celebrate as far as I'm concerned,” Bernstein said.

The Indiana Bar Foundation recently reported a summer professional development session prepared educators for teaching the Constitution. Thirteen of the 48 participants who trained in “We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution” represented schools in northeast Indiana, including Fort Wayne Community Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools.

“The growth in the We the People program is uplifting,” Collin Gruver, director of civic education programs for the foundation, said in a statement. “Indiana and local communities will benefit from smart, young people who are excited about history, government and the Constitution.”  

Recognitions and scholarships

• Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School of Fort Wayne is a first-time Gold Star recipient, the Indiana Department of Education recently announced. Created in 2004, the designation signifies the school counselor-led steering team has met specific criteria identified for the development of a comprehensive school counseling model. The official award presentation is set for the Indiana School Counselor Association fall conference in November.

• Questa Education Foundation recently awarded $86,000 through the Venette M. and Mabel M. Sites Scholarship to graduates of Allen County public high schools. Recipients were Ashley Osborn and Nicole Winans of East Allen University; Rachel Witte, Branson Dossen, Chase Myers and Kimberlie Kline of Heritage; Ashley Felger, Brayten Carpenter, Mackenzie Petre, Sydney Ulrey, Connor Burgess, Anthony Ohneck, Logan Jester, Miguel Stone, Kelsiey Cicora, Madison Peterson, Caleb DeLieto and Alexandra Harvey of Carroll; Sabrina Medert, Ellie Gaskill, Felicia Wehrle, Rebekah Zvers, Sarah Moloney, Courtney McGrew and Scott Creech of Homestead; Nicole Thompson, Rebecca Kimball, Jordan Eldridge, Hannah Fowerbaugh, Rebecca Lessig, Morgan Sanderson and Ian Thompson of Leo; Angel Windom, Adam Hoffer, Zachary Watson and Matthew Mensing of New Haven; Michael Mast, Mackenzie Lawson, Joshua Mahon, Jailyn Krantz and Juan Gonzalez-Rangel of Northrop; Jessica Moeller, Julianna Davis, Kaelly Collins, Logan Ankney and Soe San of North Side; Kaitelyn Vachon, Hannah Cook, Miranda Vance, Samuel Stratton, Mariah Thomas, Jennifer Peppler, Heidi Schneemann, Miranda Walls, Maria Barrera and Rylee Marks of Snider; Kathryn Bixby, Katherine Sheppard and Kendra Shadle of South Side; Jillian Findlay and Kyle Pessefall of Wayne; Sara Livengood of Wayne New Tech; Joachima Hoot, Tori Bontrager, Alyssa Garver, Rebekah Dignal, Loren Hahn and Paige Stutzman of Woodlan.


• Trine University's fall 2017 Humanities Symposia continues Tuesday with “Part Gothic Revival, 100 percent American” by art lecturer Sarah Zimmer. The final sessions, set for Oct. 17 and Nov. 14, tie into the book “Hidden Figures.” Each free symposium begins at 3:30 p.m. in Wells Theater inside Taylor Hall. The public is welcome.

• Bishop Dwenger High School will present “Peter and the Starcatcher” at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 and 14 and 2 p.m. Oct. 15. Contact Babette Record at to buy reserved tickets, which are $10. General admission and student tickets will be available 30 minutes before each performance at the Bishop Dwenger Ticket Box Office for $8 and $6, respectively. Discounted general admission tickets are available for groups of 10 or more.

• Comedian John Crist will perform during Huntington University's homecoming weekend at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Merillat Center for the Arts. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cost is $5 for general admission and $3 for students. Go to for a complete homecoming schedule.

• Indiana Tech will host four free events as part of Leadership Month, an initiative presented by the College of Business. The first event, “How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain,” is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the multiflex theater in the Snyder Academic Center. Learn how findings from the last 15 years of neuroscience, cognitive science and biology research point to a new paradigm for student learners. The public is welcome.

Ivy Tech

• Ivy Tech Community College's Fort Wayne campus hired Jim Papagiannis as the new assistant director of resource development. His responsibilities include building community relationships to increase awareness of Ivy Tech and raising funds for college programs and scholarships through the Ivy Tech Foundation.

• Beginning 2017-18, Ivy Tech's Fort Wayne campus will offer two new academic programs, an associate degree in biology and a diesel technology program. For more information about the biology program, go to or contact Diane Lewis at or 260-482-9171 ext. 2546. For the diesel technology program, to go or contact Nick Goodnight at or 260-480-4293.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.