Central Students Invited to Exclusive Constitution Day Event


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CENTRAL STUDENTS INVITED TO EXCLUSIVE CONSTITUTION DAY EVENT — Central students Sara Katheron Latham, Makayla Paris, MacKenzie Farner, and Riley Hayden pictured with United States District Judge Curtis L. Collier.

MacKenzie Farner and Carson Simms

Every year on September seventeenth, citizens across America celebrate National Constitution Day. This year, a select group of Central students were invited to the Chattanooga Courthouse for a special recognition of Constitution Day.

Along with Central, students from East Hamilton High School and Red Bank High School were invited to the celebration to participate in a special reading and interpretation of the United States constitution presented by Judge Curtis L. Collier, a skit written by Judge Collier, discussion of freedom of the press with attorney Hugh Moore, explanation of the court case leading to the development of the sixth amendment, and a constitution trivia game. Along with these activities, the Central Digest was allowed to conduct a special interview with Judge Collier about his time as a Judge and the rich history of the Chattanooga Courthouse.

During our interview, the digest learned about the rich history of the courthouse. The Chattanooga Courthouse was built in 1933, featuring several art-deco accents and real marble walls containing real fossils throughout the building. Additionally, in the third-floor courtroom, sits a massive mural covering the back of the courtroom named the allegory of Chattanooga.

The Allegory of Chattanooga was originally painted in 1937 by Hilton Leech, featuring pieces of Chattanooga’s lengthy history. The center of the mural features Cherokee Indians and missionaries referencing the beginning of Chattanooga’s history. The right of the painting features images referencing the Civil War battles fought here and the railways that run throughout the city. The left of the painting has images of farmers and the dam here in Chattanooga, representing the rich agricultural and electrical history of Chattanooga.

“I think it is very important for young people to understand the Constitution and be involved in the government because we are the future of our country. Young people should be educated about it and be prepared for playing a part within the government.” stated senior, Riley Hayden.

During our interview with Judge Collier, we gained an insight into Judge Collier’s life and journey to becoming a United States District Judge.

Growing up, Curtis L. Collier never thought about a career in law, let alone being a United States District Judge. Judge Collier grew up in rural Arkansas in a time of poverty and segregation. Growing up there were five black lawyers in Arkansas, the only job opportunities available were teaching or working cotton fields. Collier began working in cotton fields carrying water to workers at age ten, and by age twelve began working in the fields for thirty cents an hour ten hours per day. Judge Collier enrolled in college with aspirations to attain a degree in chemistry, but after experiencing the loneliness of constant lab work, Judge Collier decided to transition into the world of law, eventually leading to his lengthy career as a United States District Judge.

“During the interview with the judge, he talked a lot about his life. He told us about his story and how he became a judge. I would definitely say that this was a very inspirational field trip for me and maybe one day hope to go back for the right reason.” commented senior and yearbook staff member, Makayla Paris.