FORT MOHAVE — Students in Bob Risse’s U.S. history and government class at the Academy of Building Industries got some lessons on the American flag Wednesday during a visit by two members of the Colorado River Republican Women’s Club.
Robbie Adams and Deborah Adams spent about an hour with the students, going through the parts of the flag and their symbolism, and the early formation of the United States.
Robbie Adams, whose husband, Larry Adams, was one of the original group of local contractors that founded the vocation-focused public charter high school that opened 18 years ago, said the CRRWC has made four similar presentations in area classrooms this school year.
Wednesday’s session began with a simple message, “Knowledge is the key to understand,” on the whiteboard.
Adams then asked students for their definitions of “knowledge,” getting responses that ranged from power to wisdom.
She added a few descriptions of her own, including information and learning, then at the end of the presentation tied it all together by telling the students, “Knowledge makes you aware of what’s going on. It gives you an understanding of topics. Facts and data. Skill and knowledge are parts of the process of learning.”
She advised the students to “take your school years seriously” and to “make yourself the best you can be in what you do.”
The presentation included a group test — answers both correct and incorrect were offered by students before they settled on the right responses to a number of questions about the flag and the colonies that established what would become the United States.
The students were quick to answer correctly the names of three main components of the American flag: the blue canton upon which stars are placed to represent the states, the hoist on which the flag is displayed on a pole and the field, the red and white stripes that represent the 13 original colonies.
They had a tougher time coming up with those original colonies but eventually got there. More knew that Hawaii followed Alaska as the last two states admitted to the union than knew that Delaware and Pennsylvania were among the initial 13 territories that would become the first states.
Adams also outlined the symbolism of the red, white and blue colors with red signifying strength and valor, white representing innocence and purity and blue symbolic of vigilance, perseverance and justice.
The women from the CRRWC, in an attempt to get more students involved in the discussion, asked for a show of hands from students who had a relative — past or present — serving in the armed forces, then gave students responding in the affirmative an opportunity to say who those relatives were.
Some knew the specifics — “I have a cousin in the Army and another cousin in the Air Force,” one student said — while others knew only that “my grandpa was in the military” or “my great-grandfather was in World War II.”
Deborah Adams, with the assistance of several students, distributed small American flags and pamphlet-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution for the students to keep.
At the end of the presentation, Principal Jean Thomas told the students that Risse had agreed to accept the completed test as an assignment that would count toward the students’ grades in the class.
Some hurriedly filled in the answers they had left blank earlier while Adams asked if the students needed to review any of them.
“We think it’s important for the students to learn about the flag and the Constitution,” Robbie Adams said. “That’s why we do this. We want the students to know the history and its importance to our country.”