Perelman Jewish Day School Students Selected for Rendell Center Citizenship Challenge

Wynnewood, PA – On January 18, fifth-grade students from Perelman Jewish Day School traveled to the National Constitution Center to participate in the final round of The Rendell Center Citizenship Challenge, an essay contest providing students with the opportunity to express themselves regarding a current issue facing our democracy. Out of 250 participating schools across the Commonwealth, Perelman was one of 11 schools chosen to participate in the final round of the Challenge. 

This year’s Challenge was, “In your own words, explain the amendment, its importance to Americans, and indicate which freedom you think is most important and why.” The essay that advanced Perelman to the finals was written by students Gabriela Ehrlich ‘24 and Ayelet Jerud ’24, who argued that freedom of speech is the most important freedom in the First Amendment. 

“Your freedom to express yourself is a superpower, whether you do it by speaking, writing, or wearing clothes that send a message or are linked to a message,” they wrote in their essay.

In preparation for the finals, the entire grade brainstormed ways to bring the essay to life. With the support of their teachers, General Studies teacher Audrey Kraus and Hebrew/Jewish Studies teacher Shani Doane, they adapted a song from their school play Matilda Jr., creating lyrics that explained the importance of freedom of speech, created speech bubbles with words that demonstrated freedom of expression, memorized lyrics, designed shirts, practiced potential questions from the judges, and rehearsed diligently for the competition. 

Perelman students proudly took to the stage where they presented beautifully, thoughtfully answered the judges' questions, and listened respectfully to other presentations. 

Students also had the opportunity to tour the museum where they made connections between their learning about the Constitution and the First Amendment and the hands-on exhibits.

In the words of Audrey Kraus, “We could not be more proud of our citizens and future leaders!”

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Kindergarten - Grade 5  •  7601 Old York Road, Melrose Park, PA 19027  •  215-635-3130

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