By Sarrah Peters
On Friday, August 30, more than 1,075 fifth grade students in Etowah County and Attalla school systems kicked off the Super Citizen Program. On Tuesday, September 3 about 550 second grade students in the Gadsden City School system followed suit.
Students participating in the event waved flags and wore paper crowns modeled after the Statue of Liberty’s crown. Lady Liberty, also known as Libby, came to visit the children. Students learned more about the Statue of Liberty.
Donehoo Elementary student Karter Harrison and Thompson Elementary student Andreya Wright were invited onstage to assist Libby in demonstrating the size of the statue’s mouth, nose and finger. Libby even shared that the Statue of Liberty wears a size 879 shoe.
Libby also introduced the students to the Statue of Liberty’s history. The statue was designed in Paris and Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel Tower, constructed the statue’s metal work. After being assembled in Paris, the statue was broken down into 305 pieces and transported to the United States, where it was reconstructed.
Libby touched on science with the children, explaining that oxidation turned the copper statue a patina (green) color.
Libby discussed the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom. The statue actually has broken chains around its feet, meant to symbolize freedom from oppression.
From where it is stationed on Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty is visible at Ellis Island, a former immigration station that is now a museum. When immigrants approached the United States, the statue was the first sign that they had arrived in their new homes.
Libby Liberty also shared a poem titled “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus. This widely known poem introduced the famous lines “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” The poem was written in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level.
At the end of the event, Libby Liberty led the children in a patriotic sing-along of the song “You in the USA.”
The main point of the event was to get the kids excited about starting the Super Citizen Program, which teaches civics, financial literacy, character development and career readiness, as well as focuses on working together to explore the character and actions of everyday heroes in the students’ own communities.
So far, nearly 50,000 students have taken part in the Super Citizen Program in over 250 schools.
Following the bus tour kickoff event, students will continue learning about American history, freedom, liberty, the U.S. Constitution and what it means to be a “super citizen” every day.
The Liberty Learning Foundation thanked the Etowah County Community Alliance, the Alabama Bicentennial, ALFA, the Alabama Department of Education, AlaTrade Foods, Screentech and the Gadsden-Etowah Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the event and program.
For more information about the Liberty Learning Foundation, visit libertylearning.org.