POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Poplar Bluff High School has become the first southeast Missouri school to participate in the Constitution Project.
It is a special class that partners with local industry professionals to demonstrate the process of investigating a mock crime, holding a trial and reporting the proceedings.
19 students were selected to participate in the course based on academics, school citizenship and interest level.
They will be judged on merit in the disciplines of journalism, trial advocacy and crime scene investigation, with the highest scoring teams going on to compete against other schools before the Missouri Supreme Court.
The PBHS students joined over 200 other students from around the state on September 6 in Jefferson City to hear an overview from state leaders, including the Missouri First Lady, Dr. Sheena Greitens.
"I can remember as a student, experiential learning was the most powerful kind of learning because discussing and acting out a concept is more relevant than a teacher lecturing at you," said Social Studies teacher Mitch Davis, who presides over the class.
"Of course we all have to lecture, but this is a project-based learning class that teaches your rights as a citizen under the Constitution by acting those principles out."
"The biggest thing for me is to teach them that the reason the Constitution matters is the Constitution keeps you free," said Texas County Associate Circuit Judge Doug Gaston, the founder of the program.
Superintendent Scott Dill instituted the project in Poplar Bluff. The Constitution Project began as a club at Houston Schools, expanding the following semester to all the schools in the county and going statewide two years later.
Last year, Missouri Congress passed a law allowing the curriculum to shape a credit-bearing elective.