Staff Writer, Sean Sullivan
Centerfest is an event that takes place in downtown Durham. This year it was during the weekend of September 16th-17th. It is an art festival and is so big, that streets are closed in the city just to provide space for the event. Around 15,000 people walk through the streets of Centerfest each day, totalling up to about 30,000 people.
Over the past couple of years, History Teacher, Mr. Gatlin, the Civics and Economics teacher for the sophomores, got a tent there to spread awareness for Constitution day. The day that the Constitution was signed was September 17th, 1787. September 17th fell over the weekend of Centerfest so we partnered with the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), to celebrate this day of historic significance. The Civics class even sent a group of kids to present their projects to a group of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Daughters of the American Revolution is an organization that recognizes and celebrates life how it was during the constitutional times. Every one of them is somehow related to someone part of the revolution. Whether they are related to a soldier that fought, or Ben Franklin or John Adams themselves, they can still be part of the organization. They came to Centerfest and worked out of our tent with us. We handed out over 1800 little american flags to people as they walked by, and gave the kids candy and USA stickers.
The civics class recently did a project to answer the driving question of, “what would the founding fathers want us to know about the framing of the constitution?” That question can be interpreted in many different ways and taken in many different directions. The students in the class showed how each of them pictured the question and created a visual representation to express their thoughts. Mr. Gatlin had many of the projects out on display for people walking through to see and learn from. This was appropriate due to the fact that it was constitution day.
Gatlin put out several projects that he thought were very well made and put together, the ones that had an excellent mindset put into it showed in their work. In total there was about ten to twelve projects out on display. Gatlin was asked what the main goal was for this event and what he wanted people to learn from it, he said “To recognize constitution day, since it fell during Centerfest we took an advantage of the opportunity to raise awareness for it.” Gatlin has done this event for around seven years, and the past two have fallen on the weekend of Centerfest so jumpin on that chance to set up shop there was a really smart move by him. The Viking Tide asked him which year so far has been his favorite, and he said “the past two have been great just because we’ve gotten to do it at Centerfest, but this year was even more special because we handed out over 1800 American flags, which broke our records from all the previous years.
Holden Buchanan, Sophomore, also worked in the tent on Sunday at 1:30-2:30. He described his experience as “It was a lot of fun, I got to meet a lot of new people and saw a lot of cool art.” Holden was one of the few kids that got to go present to the daughters, when he was asked what that was like he said, “It went really well, everyone seemed interested in what I was talking about which made it easier to present, instead of a bunch of students forced to listen to it.”
Ella Mrozkowski and Abdullah Abumuais are both seniors here at Voyager academy, and have worked with Gatlin for the past three years. Both of them shared their thought about this year versus previous years, and both had the same answer. “Last year was my favorite because we got to work with kids and got to make stuff for them and play with them.” Abdullah said. Ella also favored last year, “last year was fun because we had a lot more space, and we got to make hats for the kids and I was pretty good at making the hats.” They both said that they loved doing it all three years and it wasn’t a waste of volunteer hours.
My Point of View
I worked in the tent from 10:30 to 12:00 on Saturday and from what I saw there were a lot of people that enjoyed our projects and learning about the constitution. I noticed that there were a lot of people that weren’t even aware that it was constitution week, some people didn’t accept the flag which was kind of awkward but we just ignored them and kept greeting new people.
Be sure to sign up in the upcoming years to work with Mr. Gatlin and the Civics class to spread awareness for the constitution.