To the Editor:

Knowledge can build an empire, but it is wisdom that maintains a civilization. We all have to learn facts about the United States Constitution in high school, but how many of us really understand it?

That's where we come in; Earn It, Learn It, or Lose It at Edwardsville High School, along with our sponsor Hortica has taken a stand against ignorance in order to form a more perfect generation.

It all began with a cup of coffee and a donut at the local cafe.

Fueled by caffeine and a passion for justice, attorney Tad Armstrong was well into a heated discussion about America's general lack of knowledge about the application of Constitutional rights. This is when Earn It, Learn It, or Lose It (E.L.L.) was born. In the beginning, the club was formed for adults to educate them about the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings, and how our federal laws have changed over time. Today there are multiple adult clubs and two high school chapters (Edwardsville High School and Marquette High School in Alton) that do just this.

For over four years we high school students have sought to unravel the mysteries of our Constitution. How do we do this, you may ask? Thanks to the generosity of our outstanding corporate sponsor Hortica, we have the help of an adult moderator, materials and binders, and a supply of delicious cookies. Through Supreme Court opinions and animated debates we educate ourselves on the policies and fallacies involving the United States Constitution and the Supreme Court.

Hortica has gone from merely ensuring horticulture to also ensuring our future as American citizens. Through all its support and contributions, Hortica has allowed our club to flourish over the years. We cannot thank the company enough for what it has done for us.

In these hard times it is refreshing to see that an organization is taking the initiative to educate young Americans.

As Thomas Jefferson once said, "Democracy can never be ignorant and free." We must maintain our rights as Americans. We all have freedom, and what we do with it is our choice; we can earn it, learn it, or lose it. Which one will you choose?

Members of the ELL Constitution Club
at Edwardsville High School

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