By Rachael Wilson
The sounds of freedom echoed through the streets of Mapleton Thursday, Sept. 21, as fourth and fifth-graders from Mapleton Elementary School greeted republican candidates with patriotic songs and essays.
Lt. Gov. Olene Walker and Rep. Bill Wright were welcomed to the community with the theme of Freedom.
The theme resonated throughout the program as two fourth-graders and one fifth-grader shared their winning essays discussing the importance of the Constitution and the meaning of the word freedom.
“The Constitution means you are free and safe,” said Kristine Keliiliki, fourth-grader at Mapleton Elementary School.
Bryce Brunette, a fourth-grader at Mapleton Elementary School, said the law protects him and is, therefore, his freedom.
“It is our responsibility to live the laws our constitution contains so we can be free,” said Madelyn Tucker, fifth-grader at Mapleton Elementary School.
Tucker said the Constitution may just be a piece of paper with words on it, but it means much more.
Lt. Gov. Walker and Rep. Wright congratulated the children on their efforts to better understand democracy.
“Sometimes we don’t fully realize the blessing of freedom we enjoy. We need to remember that as we reflect on the Constitution,” Wright said.
Lt. Gov. Walker continued on that theme.
“Do you know how lucky you are?” asked Walker.
Walker said education is a privilege the children should be grateful for. She also said they should make the most of this time to learn.
“It is important that at a young age, children start to learn not only the privileges but also the obligations of freedom,” Walker said.
J. Lynn Jones, principal of Mapleton Elementary School, said he thought the event was an excellent way to remind the children of the reality of government.
“It is important to have the kids interact with our state officials so they better understand and appreciate our government,” Jones said.
Utah’s science teacher of the year, Shelly Gillies, a kindergarten teacher at Mapleton Elementary School, was also recognized at the event for her service in education.