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First Amendment rights topic of essay contest, presentation

Uploaded: Mar 3, 2015
The Exchange Club of the San Ramon Valley has an essay contest as part of its annual college scholarship program. The main theme of the essay is always the U.S. Constitution, and this year the specific focus is the First Amendment.

Considering the recent decision by the FCC on Net Neutrality and the massacre at Charlie Hebdo newspaper in France in January, this year's theme is very timely and, in my humble opinion, very important.

As part of the scholarship contest, a presentation is set for March 18. Two speakers very knowledgeable about the U.S. Constitution will discuss the First Amendment and its impact on the rights of citizenship.

Eligible San Ramon Valley School District high-schoolers have to answer the following questions in their essay:
* Do you believe First Amendment Rights are absolute?
* Under what circumstances, if any, should First Amendment rights be limited?
* Which of the five freedoms listed in the First Amendment do you believe is the most important and why?

(As a side note, a quick survey at my gym revealed that many people can't name the five freedoms in the First Amendment.)

The essay-writers must also tie in information given by Cheryl Cook-Kallio and John Murphy at a presentation from 7 to 8 p.m. March 18 at the Canyon View Banquet Hall, 680 Bollinger Canyon Way, San Ramon.

Cook-Kallio is a 38-year veteran who teaches AP U.S. History and AP Government / We the People at Irvington High School in Fremont and served for eight years as a councilmember for the City of Pleasanton. She served the Hon. Dianne Feinstein as a Madison Congressional Fellow and currently serves on a state task force advisory board for civic education and the National Civics Teachers' Council founded by former Associate Justice Sandra Day O.Connor.

Murphy is a retired Senior Attorney in the California Supreme Court (Chambers of Justice Joyce Kennard) and a founder of the Donald P. McCullum Youth Court. The Youth Court is a restorative justice program that provides an opportunity for first-time youth offenders to participate in a peer-led youth court, health and life-skills workshops and leadership training. Murphy also served as a member of the White House Cabinet
Council on Health Affairs -- Health Policy and Economics Working Group.

The presentation is open to the public, and a video will be posted

For more information about the contest, which is open to SRVUSD high-schoolers, or the presentation, contact Donna Kerger at or (925) 838-9272 with any questions.
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Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:05 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I keep a copy of the Bill of Rights on my computer and refer to it frequently. I actually counted seven freedoms in the First Amendment. Two of the five described could be divided in two separate freedoms to make seven.

I was planning to write a blog on the First Amendment. Now that you bring it up, I shall post something later this week.


Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of Alamo,
on Mar 6, 2015 at 8:42 am

I counted and counted but I could only come up with six:

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
2. or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
3. or abridging the freedom of speech,
4. or of the press;
5. or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and
6. to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Where's the seventh, Roz?

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 16, 2015 at 2:20 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Alamo Ron,

I was originally thinking of

1. No Government imposed Religion, (which was often the case in Europe)
2. Freedom to practice your religion the way you choose to
3. Freedom to have NO religion at all

The rest are on your list.

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