Each year, history teachers across the United States apply for the James Madison Memorial Fellowship, a fellowship established in 1986 by the United States Congress that allows secondary education history teachers a chance to thoroughly study the United States Constitution. One educator from each state is awarded a scholarship to receive their master’s degree with a concentration in American history as well as attend a four-week educational program during the summer at Georgetown University. This year, one of our own has been chosen: Mr. Cameron Helvey, faculty member in the History and Global Studies department.
Here at Hun, Mr. Helvey teaches US History Honors, American Government, Constitutional Law and American Society, as well as an Academy Civics course. And make no mistake, Mr. Helvey is no stranger to the United States Constitution; he is currently finishing up his master’s degree program at Teachers College, Columbia University and just completed his thesis entitled “Lessons From The Constitutional Convention For Our Age of Political Sectarianism”.
In each of Mr. Helvey’s classes, he has a different approach to teaching the Constitution. In his American Government class, students do a close reading of the Constitution and become experts on the ins and outs of the text, including completing a formal assessment of the document. Constitutional Law and American Society students focus on the landmark supreme court cases and participate in mock courts. And US History Honors students focus mainly on the history of the Constitutional Convention and learn about the Great Compromise.
And while Mr. Helvey is already finding ways to incorporate the Constitution in his classroom each day, he notes he is most excited to attend the summer institute and be able to work with educators from around the country.
“I think it will be really quite fascinating to pick the brains of 49 other educators who are doing exactly what I’m doing but under different circumstances around the country. I’m eager to share what I’m doing as well as learn from others some tips and lessons that I can bring back to my classroom that I may have been missing before.”