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Grade School Students to Deliver Pledge of Allegiance at Republican National Convention

They may not be of voting age yet, but some of Northeast Ohio’s youngest citizens have clear views on democracy and patriotism. More than 600 students in grades 1 through 8 expressed those views in artwork and essays submitted to the Red, Write & Blue Challenge in conjunction with the Republican National Convention. Their submissions are being displayed at various locations on Cleveland State University’s campus, and now five contest participants will even have the chance to attend the RNC.

The five students have been chosen to say the Pledge of Allegiance on the convention floor at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday, July 18. Their performance will open the RNC’s afternoon session that day.

The students are: T’Ajania Williams, an eighth-grader at James Garfield School in Cleveland; Celia Head, a fifth-grader at Olmsted Falls Intermediate School; fifth-grader Thomas Wurtz of St. Bridget School in Parma; Jasmine Torres, a fifth-grader at R.G. Jones School in Cleveland; and Jeff Ungvarsky, a sixth-grader at St. Charles School in Parma. Each will be accompanied by one parent at the convention.

The Challenge, administered by CSU’s Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education and sponsored by the Republican Women's Committee of Cuyahoga County, asked students to explore various topics, ranging from “I have a dream” to “What does freedom look like?” to “America, the beautiful” to “Dear Soldiers.”

“Our goal was to raise awareness of the upcoming presidential convention in Cleveland among children and give them an opportunity to use their creative talents to express their views on civics and patriotism,” says Sharon Brown, director of the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education at CSU who organized the contest along with Cleveland activist and CSU trustee Sally Florkiewicz. 

“In doing so, we hope we also were able to generate important discussions about these topics in their classrooms and among their families,” Brown adds. 

A selection of submissions is currently being displayed in the windows of a storefront in the 2200 block of Euclid Avenue (formerly occupied by Cleveland State University’s Office of Civic Engagement). Entries will also be on view at the TEDxSalon on “21st Century Democracy,” set for Wednesday, July 20, in the CSU Student Center.

About the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education

The Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education is an outreach office of CSU’s College of Education and Human Services focusing on providing support in the face of the changing demands placed on educators, schools and districts. The Center supports the work of a broad education community by providing services, resources and collaborative professional learning to area schools, districts and education oriented programs. Please visit the Center’s website for more information,

About Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for Engaged Learning. With 17,000-plus students, nine colleges and more than 175 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2016 as one of America’s best universities by U.S. News & World Report. Find more information at