The Michigan Star Constitution Bee will be held at the Royal Oak campus of Oakland County Community College in September, Star News Digital Media, which owns The Michigan Star, The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun, announced in a statement released by the company on Monday.
Participating Michigan secondary school students compete at the event to win cash scholarships, trophies, and more. The Grand Champion, as well as the second and third place winners, will get a trip to Washington, D.C. – in addition to spots to compete in the National Constitution Bee in the summer of 2020.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host this great event in Michigan, the first state other than Tennessee, where we are based, that will host one of our Constitution Bees,” Star News Digital Media CEO and Editor-in-Chief Michael Patrick Leahy said.
Star News Digital Media developed the Constitution Bee concept as a public event designed to focus on student knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the same way as the National Spelling Bee and the National Geography Bee. The competition is open to all secondary school students studying at grade levels eight to 12 – including homeschoolers. Contest questions and essay challenges are based on the Star News Digital Media Guide to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students.
Three Constitution Bees sponsored and organized by Star News Digital Media have been held in Tennessee to date: the 2017 Tennessee Star Constitution Bee, the 2018 Tennessee Star Constitution Bee, and the 2019 Tennessee Star Constitution Bee.
The Michigan Star Constitution Bee signifies beginning of the national launch of the Star News Digital Media Constitution Bee program, which will culminate at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year in the National Constitution Bee in Washington, D.C..
The 238-page Star News Guide is a supplementary text consisting of 21 chapters that discuss the people and events leading up to the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. Each chapter, complete with chapter-end questions, explores one key element of the Constitution and Bill of Rights as they were written – along with the men and women who influenced and developed them. The book’s appendix contains the complete text of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, plus Amendments 11 through 27. A glossary of terms and sourced endnotes with a unique digital dimension rounds out the soft-cover volume.
Michigan secondary school students can confirm here their registration to compete in The Michigan Star Constitution Bee.
Students can purchase a copy of the Star News Guide here.
Teachers who would like to use the Star News Guide as a supplemental text and encourage their students to participate in the Bee can apply for book donation gifts by contacting The Michigan Star directly.
Donors who want to sponsor a class by purchasing books for all the students in the class can also contact The Michigan Star directly.
The Constitution Bee competition consists of three parts with awards in several categories.
Part one is the Preamble Round, where contestants have the option to perform, present, or otherwise re-imagine the 52 words of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States in 60 seconds. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:
– Most Creative Preamble
– Most Persuasive Preamble
– Most Entertaining Preamble
The Preamble Round will be followed by the Elimination Round, in which contestants will be asked questions of fact organized by three levels of difficulty – easy, moderate, and difficult – and the field will be narrowed to the top six.
The final Championship Round will begin by narrowing the field of six to three based on the contestants three minute oral responses to essay questions at the very difficult level.
The Grand Champion, second place, and third place winner will then be determined by the contestants answers to questions of fact asked at the very-very difficult level.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren, Justice Stephen Markman of the Michigan Supreme Court (immediate past Chief Justice), and Court of Appeals Judge Christopher are currently scheduled to be judges for the event.
At the end of the competition, all contestants will receive a certificate of participation. Awards will be presented for the three categories of the preamble round, as well as the overall first place grand prize winner, second place winner, and third place winner.
The individual grand champion prize package includes a $3,000 college scholarship, a trophy, and a letter of recommendation from the judging panel. The second place winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship, a trophy, and a letter of recommendation; and the third place winner will receive a $500 college scholarship, a trophy, and a letter of recommendation.
All three top performers will be invited to Washington D.C. to participate in the first National Constitution Bee, sponsored by Star News Digital Media, which will be held in the summer of 2020, where they will join the top three winners from 2020 Constitution Bees in Tennessee, Ohio, and Minnesota, as well as from the Western and Eastern Regions.
“This is a great extra-curricular event for students which can also help build their college admissions resumé,” Leahy said.
Past winners include 2017 Constitution Bee winner Noel Farley took his trip to Washington, D.C. in October 2017, where he met with Federal Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Griffith.
2018 Constitution Bee winner Cooper Moran took his trip to Washington, D.C. in July 2018. Moran was at the Capitol where he witnessed, and shook hands with, then-Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at the historic first walk through the halls of the Capitol with Vice President Mike Pence on their way to meet the United States senators who would vote on his confirmation.
The most recent Grand Champion for 2019 is Lincoln County High Schooler Aryan Burns, who returned to compete after finishing in second place in 2018’s Constitution Bee.
In addition to the individual prize winners, the Michigan Star Constitution Bee will have school team winners, as well.
“Our addition to the Constitution Bee for 2019 was a simultaneous school team competition,” Leahy, who emcees the Bees, explained.
Schools earn points for the total number of participating students, winning any prize in the Preamble Challenge, correctly answering questions from ‘The Friends of the Court Bench,’ and placing first, second or third in the individual competition.
The Tennessee Constitution Bee State High School Champion for 2019 is Stewart County High School.
Leahy noted, “The kids listened closely to the rules, and quickly learned how to leverage their participation, including with those contestants who were out of the running to earn a top prize.”
The top three finishers from The Michigan Star Constitution Bee will join three winners from each of the other Bees: The Tennessee Star Constitution Bee, The Ohio Star Constitution Bee, The Minnesota Sun Constitution Bee, the Western Region Constitution Bee (for all states west of the Mississippi that do not have their own Constitution Bees), and the Eastern Region Constitution Bee (for all states east of the Mississippi that do not have their own Constitution Bee).
In January, Star News Digital Media will announce its 2021 Constitution Bee licensing program for individuals who want to hold Bees in their state and have winners eligible to compete in the National Constitution Bee.