How Does Democracy Work?
Key Moments of the Liberty Bill Project,1997-1998

 

December 4, 1997
170 students from LMS recite the abridged Constitution at Poor Farm Park's amphitheater, inspiring an idea in their teacher.

December 10/11, 1997
Mr. Wright's students unanimously vote yes to the idea of trying to get an abridged Constitution on the back of the one dollar bill.

Mid December, 1997
Students of all six of Mr. Wright's classes, through brainstorming and teaming, work on presentations of what will become the Liberty Bill Project.

December 30, 1997
Twenty students meet over winter break to practice their presentations.

January 8, 1998
With Congressman Tom Bliley, Virginia Delegate Frank Hargrove, and print and TV media on hand, more than 100 students present the Liberty Bill idea.

Hargrove states, "This is probably the finest presentation that I have been privileged to be part of," and he commits to sponsor a bill in the House of Delegates to memorialize Congress to pass the Liberty Bill.

Rep. Bliley says, "This is the best presentation I have ever witnessed by secondary schools," and says he will back legislation to introduce the idea in Congress.

TV and news coverage spread the story throughout central Virginia.

January 13, 1998

The students present the Liberty Bill to the School Board, and the School Board passes unanimously a resolution of support for the students, their teachers, and their project.

January 14, 1998

The Hanover Board of Supervisors passes a resolution of support for the students and their Liberty Bill, urging "the President of the United States and all members of Congress to endorse the Liberty Bill..."

Late January, 1998

Representative Virgil Goode agrees to cosponsor the Liberty Bill.

February 10, 1998

The students present the Liberty Bill presentation to Al Broaddus, president of the Federal Reserve of Richmond. Mr. Broaddus is supportive of the Liberty Bill. Local TV and newspapers again tell the story to central Virginia.

February 17, 1998

A presentation practice is held in the Patrick Henry Auditorium with over 200 students from all grade levels.

Mid February, 1998

The House of Delegates Rules Committee has tabled, until 1999, the resolution to memorialize Congress to pass the Liberty Bill.

Late February, 1998

The Herald-Progress and the Mechanicsville Local print a letter to the editor that is unfavorable of the Liberty Bill.

An internet website is designed by Anne Pollard, Ms. Petrie, and students to spread the Liberty Bill idea.

February 27, 1998

Representative Rick Boucher agrees to cosponsor the Liberty Bill.

The first week of March, 1998

The Herald-Progress, the Mechanicsville Local, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch print an op ed article by Mr. Wright which states why the Constitution should be on the back of the one dollar bill.

First two weeks of March, 1998

A number of students’ letters to the editor in support of the Liberty Bill are in several editions of the Herald-Progress, the Mechanicsville Local, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Student Jennifer Conwell’s letter is selected by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as "Correspondent of the Day."

 

March 12, 1998

WRVA radio’s Tim Timberlake interviews three Liberty Middle School students live from the studio as three other students observe.

The USA Today prints Mr. Wright’s op ed piece in an abridged version.

March 14, 1998

Saturday Night Live picks up the op ed piece from USA Today and uses it in one of its midnight news spoofs.

Mid-March, 1998

Sixth and seventh grade teams of students address, stuff, and mail letters about the Liberty Bill to all of the members of Congress.

April 17, 1998

The Citizens’ Voice, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, prints Mr. Wright’s op ed article.

April 19, 1998

The York Daily Record, in York, Pennsylvania, prints Mr. Wright’s op ed article.

May 4, 1998

Representative Bliley returns to Liberty Middle School to show the bill he will introduce the next day in the House of Representatives.

The students make an encore presentation of the Liberty Bill.

Good Morning America from ABC is at Liberty Middle School to tape the story.

Bob Dart, a reporter for Cox Newspapers, which owns twenty newspapers, is on hand to report the story.

Daughters of the American Revolution honor the students and their teacher.

May 5, 1998

Representative Bliley introduces the "Liberty Dollar Bill Act," H.R.3792, to place the entire Preamble, and a brief explanation of each of the seven Articles and twenty-seven Amendments on the reverse side of the one dollar bill. There are six cosponsors, including Gerald Solomon, chairman of the Rules Committee.

The Associated Press sends the Liberty Bill story around the world as one of its four lead stories.

May 7, 1998

A Hartford Connecticut radio station interviews Mr. Wright after picking up the story from the AP wire service.

Twelve more Representatives cosponsor the Liberty Bill, including Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and Majority Whip, Tom DeLay.

Senator John Warner introduces a slightly different version of the "Liberty Dollar Bill Act" to the Senate, S.2053, to place the entire Preamble and a brief explanation of each of the seven Articles and the Bill of Rights on the reverse side of the one dollar bill. The CONGRESSIONAL RECORD OF THE SENATE states that the eighth grade students of Liberty Middle School should be commended for their contribution to their nation.

May 10, 1998

The Richmond Times-Dispatch endorses the Liberty Bill.

May 11, 1998

The Atlanta Constitution carries Bob Dart’s story about the Liberty Middle School students and their Liberty Bill as do a number of other papers across the country.

May 12, 1998

Senator Chuck Robb cosponsors the Liberty Bill.

May 18, 1998

Two more Representatives cosponsor the Liberty Bill.

May 19, 1998

A team of sixth grade students addresses, stuffs, and mails letters to all members of the House of Representatives about the progress of the Liberty Bill.

May 20, 1998

Good Morning America broadcasts the Liberty Bill.

Another Representative cosponsors the Liberty Bill, making a total of 21 cosponsors.

May 21, 1998

A Lexington, Kentucky radio station supports the Liberty Bill and interviews live Congressman Bliley and Mr. Wright.

May 22, 1998

The Coin Coalition, while supporting the idea of an abridged Constitution on the back of a bill, writes Representative Bliley’s office and states that it does not want the abridged Constitution on the back of the one dollar bill for several reasons.

May 24 (Sunday), 1998

The Dallas Morning News, the eleventh largest newspapers in the nation with a Sunday circulation of 800,000, endorses the Liberty Bill with an editorial entitled "Righteous Bill: Idea of a Constitution dollar is commendable."

May 25, 1998

In Kansas, the Topeka Capital-Journal, circulation 62,000, endorses the Liberty Bill, stating "...civics classes at Liberty Middle School came up with what may be the greatest idea ever originated in any school system."

May 27, 1998

WKDA radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania interviews Mr. Wright live.

The Fleet Reserve Association states, "will be pleased to endorse H.R.3792 with the hope that it may be enacted in law before the end of the the 105th Congress."

An e-mail is received from Eric in Portland, Oregon saying a Portland DJ had been talking about the students and their Liberty Bill. Eric says, "It’s an awesome project that can only help the American people."

May/June, 1998

Students address envelopes and do mailings to radio stations across the country.

June 1, 1998

The students receive the "Spirit of America" award from the Time for America Foundation.

June 2, 1998

USA Today features a story of the students and their Liberty Bill.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States endorses the Liberty Bill stating, "we look forward to participating in any forthcoming hearing on this act."

June 3, 1998

Two more Representatives cosponsor the Liberty Bill -- total 23.

June 4, 1998

WRMB in Boynton Beach, FL with Dana and Ken interview Mr. Wright at 6:30 a.m.

WBZU "The Morning Buzz" in Richmond, VA with Mike and Don interview Mr. Wright at 8:10 a.m.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart endorses the Liberty Bill stating, "we cherish this idea brought to you by a group of eighth graders."

June 9, 1998

Two more Representatives cosponsor the Liberty Bill -- total 25.

June 10, 1998

WDEL in Delaware interviews Mr. Wright at 10:15 a.m. on the John Rago show. This is Domestic and International Monetary Policy Subcommittee Chairman Michael Castle’s district.

June 16, 1998

Newsday (New York, circulation 500,000) features a story about the students and their Liberty Bill

June 17, 1998

Another Representative cosponsors the Liberty Bill -- total 26.

June 30, 1998

Twenty-two ninth grade Patrick Henry students, having graduated from Liberty Middle School, and seven upper class Patrick Henry students along with eight teacher chaperones travel to Washington during summer vacation. They go door-to-door lobbying Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the Liberty Bill. All students report a very successful day and feel many members of Congress will join the bandwagon. The students are filmed by CNN News.

July 1, 1998

The former Liberty students are featured on CNN News throughout the day.

 July, 1998

Tenth and eleventh grade students from Patrick Henry High School join the Liberty Bill Group by doing hundreds of mailings to the White House and to radio, tv, magazines, and organizations across the country.

July 7, 1998

KSDO Radio in San Diego, CA interviews Mr. Wright 6:35 - 6:55 a.m. (PST) on "Money in the Morning."

July 9, 1998

The Herald-Progress features the students’ trip to Washington.

July 28, 1998

Conservative News Service, an on-line web site magazine with a daily readership of 90,000, features a story about the Liberty Bill and quotes two Patrick Henry students in its story.

July 14 - 31, 1998

Fifteen more Representatives cosponsor the Liberty Bill -- total 41.

August 6, 1998

A number of Patrick Henry Students from all grades present an updated Liberty Bill presentation to other Patrick Henry students at the Hanover County School Board offices.

August 12, 1998

Seven Patrick Henry students, at least one from each grade level, along with Mr. Wright and Ms. Pollard, meet with Delegate Frank Hargrove, one of the bill’s ardent supporters, to update him on the bill, to ask him to push his resolution through the upcoming General Assembly, to ask him to follow up with Virginia’s Congressional representatives for sponsorship of the Liberty Bill in the 106th Congress, and to seek his advice.

August, 1998

Two more Representatives cosponsor the Liberty Bill -- total 43.

September 8, 1998

The Hanover Plus section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch updates the progress of the Liberty Bill and says that spokespersons for both Bliley and Warner’s offices say the the Congressman and the Senator plan to reintroduce the Liberty Bill in the 106th Congress.

September 24, 1998

The Herald Progress updates the progress of the Liberty Bill and says that spokespersons for both Bliley and Warner’s offices say that the Congressman and the Senator plan to reintroduce the Liberty Bill in the 106th Congress.

September 26, 1998

Sarah Outten, Danny Junod, and Mr. Wright attend a political fund raiser where they meet and talk with Governor Jim Gilmore, Lieutenant Governor John Hager, Attorney General Mark Earley and celebrity Jimmy Dean. Sarah and Danny present the Governor with a "Pass the Buck" tee shirt.

Eleven more Representatives cosponsor the Liberty Bill, including Representative John Kasich, Chairman of the Budget Committee -- total 56.

October, 1998

U.S. Air features a CNN clip on its East to West Cross Country Flights for the month of October that includes the Liberty Bill.

October 5, 1998

The Herald-Progress updates readers again about the 50-plus cosponsors signed up for the Liberty Bill. The story comes from a press release from Congressman Bliley’s office celebrating the milestone.

October 11, 1998

Mr. Wright, Ms. Pollard Jeff Foster, Christa Attkisson, Lindsey Keiter, interview with Donna Southworth, a freelance writer, who is writing a story on the Liberty Bill.

October 16, 1998

Ms. Anne Pollard, Vicki Ingram (grade 11), Lindsey Keiter (10), Jason Fisher (9), Sarah Outten (9) interview with PBS for a story to be featured for the entire month of November on the PBS worldwide web site.

October, 1998

Sixth grade classes mail information to all high schools in Delaware and some in Missouri asking them to work on behalf of the Liberty Bill.

November 6, 1998

Mr. Wright, Ms. Pollard , Alpa Amin (12), Vicki Ingram (11), Anne Duncan (10), Jeff Foster (9), Jason Fisher (9), Chesney Grizzard (8) and Tina Jackson (8) take a field trip to Washington. Chris Dovi, a reporter from the Herald-Progress travels with the group for the story. The students present to John Lopez, senior counsel the Domestic and International Monetary Policy subcommittee. Mr. Lopez says that the students may have the opportunity to present in front of the subcommittee in the spring. The students present to Jump$start, a political action coalition of business leaders from around the country, who give the students a standing ovation following the presentation. The students present to Cassandra Butts, counsel to the House Democratic Leadership. She, too, gives the students a standing ovation, and says she is "overwhelmed" by the students.

November 3, 1998

Following the mid-term elections, there will be seven cosponsors of the Liberty Bill missing from the 106th Congress.

November 12, 1998

The Herald-Progress’ Accent page is devoted to the students trip to Washington.

November, 1998

Congressman Bliley’s office requests that another presentation be made early in 1999, for Bliley’s kickoff of his reintroduction of the Liberty Bill.

A sixth grade class mails information to all high schools in California asking them to work on behalf of the Liberty Bill.

November 2, 1998

PBS’s website features the Liberty Bill, stating that "Students in Ashland, Virginia know more about the U.S. Constitution than most Americans do."

November 19, 1998

The Motley Fool’s Fribble Page features the Liberty Bill, saying, "…these kids are making history." The article is written from a member of the audience at JumpStart in Washington.

December 16, 1998

Eighth grade students perform the Liberty Dollar Bill Act at Poor Farm Park and are recorded by the Hanover media center.

December 29, 1998

Over Winter Break, a group of students, Mr. Wright, and Mrs. Viers meet at Patrick Henry to practice for the upcoming presentation for Congressman Bliley.

 

RESULTS OF THE 105TH CONGRESS

HOUSE (435 members) SENATE (100 members)
Bliley Sponsor

59 Cosponsors

12.9% of Total

Warner Sponsor

1 Cosponsor

2% of Total

KNOWN ENDORSEMENTS OR AWARDS

Fleet Reserve Association (May 27, 1998)

Veterans of Foreign Wars (June 2, 1998)

Military Order of the Purple Heart (June 4, 1998)

Richmond Times-Dispatch (May 10, 1998)

Dallas Morning News (May 24)

Topeka Capital-Journal (May 25)

Spirit of America Award (June 1)

 

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