NMJC Celebrates Constitution Day

Constitution Day photo
From left to right: Vice President for Instruction John Gratton, President Steve McCleery, Senator Gay Kernan, Dean of Math and Science Kelly Holladay, and Professor of Government and History Patty Emmerich

September 19 – Hobbs, NM. On Friday, September 15, New Mexico Junior College held its second annual Constitution Day celebration in the Daniels Conference Room in the Ben Alexander Student Learning Center.

Throughout the day, two videos, “The Making of the Constitution” and “The Bill of Rights: A Living Document,” played in the college’s T-Bird Theater Room. The official event kicked off at 1:00 p.m. with a musical, patriotic tribute presented by Ronnie Gray and the NMJC Sensations, comprised of students Ed Bolton, Cecily Coleman, Denise Lemery, Daniella Mendez, Maria Ruiz, Shane Smith, and Tyler Thomason.

Keynote speaker was Senator Gay Kernan, a former Lea County educator, who spoke to the crowd of approximately 30 students, faculty, and staff members, including members of NMJC’s Young Republicans and Young Democrats organizations. Senator Kernan presented an informative history of the U.S. Constitution’s evolution, as well as possible scenarios if a different constitution had been chosen. She also challenged participants to decide if America is a democracy or a republic, before explaining how and why we’re actually a “democratic republic.”

Speaking on the critical importance of the Constitution, Sen. Kernan emphasized that it is arguably the most important document this country possesses. “It protects your way of life, it protects your government, and it protects your rights and privileges,” she said. After the event, there was a brief question-and-answer session reinforcing the information presented.

Referring to Sen. Kernan’s speech, President Steve McCleery reminded the audience that the Constitution is an evolving, living document that, fortunately, changes very slowly. He reminded them also that voting is the most effective way of prompting change for the better.

Dr. Patty Emmerich, NMJC professor of Government and History, who spearheaded the event, presented three “exceptional” essays by NMJC students. They included “Should We Re-write the Constitution?” by John Miller; “Should We the People Start Again?” by Valerie Onsurez; and “The United States Constitution” by Kristin Briley.

The event concluded with additional songs by the NMJC Sensations and a reception.

New Mexico Junior College, 5317 Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240
Phone: 575.392.4510, 1.800.657.6260

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