Constitutional Scholars

The South Carolina Historical Society is pleased to present South Carolina Students with the opportunity to become Constitutional Scholars through a certificate program that highlights civic engagement, critical thinking, academic research, and creativity. Experience as a Constitutional Scholar will strengthen students’ college applications and resumes, and promote their development as a generation of informed and engaged future voters.

To participate in the program, students must complete both an exam and a research project, using resources from the South Carolina Historical Society Archives. Students will receive a certificate upon completion of both parts, and exceptional student projects may be shared with the SCHS community via publication on social media and website platforms!

Interested students should email Melina Testin, Education Coordinator at to receive a registration packet with more information.

This is a rolling program that can be completed at any point throughout a student’s high school or college career.

The exam includes 33 multiple choice questions, and must be passed with a minimum score of 85% (28/33). Students should reference the Constitution during the exam, but may not use other outside resources or assistance. Exam content tests students on their ability to read and interpret the Constitution closely.

Research Project
For the research project, students are asked to select one or more of the South Carolina signers of the Constitution (Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Rutledge, Pierce Butler) on whom to conduct research and create a deliverable. Deliverables that highlight a student’s individual talents and interests are highly encouraged; projects may include, but are not limited to, essays, videos, podcasts, artwork, music, creative writing, etc. The project must include a bibliography in any standard format with an entry from the SCHS collection, accessible digitally or in person at the Addlestone Library in Charleston.

As a general guideline, written submissions should number approximately five pages; audio/visual submissions should not exceed 10 minutes in length. Projects should be emailed to Melina Testin, Education Coordinator at or delivered to the South Carolina Historical Society at 100 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401.

Access the South Carolina Historical Society collection here: Online Catalog

What is the Constitution?
The Constitution was written to establish the American form of government with power divided among three branches and between federal and state governments, and outline the rights and freedoms granted and withheld from its citizens. It is the supreme law of the land by which
justice is dealt. The Constitution was created on September 17, 1787. At that time, voting and participation in government was exclusive to white, property owning men. It was not until 1869 that the 14th Amendment extended such rights to black men, and 1920 that the 19th Amendment allowed women to vote. A living document, the Constitution has been amended 27 times to structure a more ethical and equitable society that reflects the ideals of the American people.

Why study the Constitution?
It is the civic duty of Americans to understand the precepts of their government. The Constitution empowers citizens with knowledge of their rights, and holds accountable the actions of their leaders. It is especially important for students to read the Constitution as they come of voting age, at which point they will be given an active role in shaping the future of their country.

What is the Constitutional Scholars Program?
The Constitutional Scholars Program is a two-part program in which South Carolina students complete an exam and a project to demonstrate their understanding of the Constitution, and explore its South Carolina roots utilizing the SCHS Archives.

Why become a Constitutional Scholar?
Status as a Constitutional Scholar shows college admissions counselors, employers, and peers that a student values their civic duty to learn their rights and freedoms as an American, and understand the processes by which their nation operates, key factors in preparation to become an informed voter and active participant in their country’s future. Highly sought after skills honed in the Constitutional Scholars Program—critical thinking, academic research, creativity—stand out on resumes and college applications.

How to Participate?
Step 1: Read the Constitution. Become familiar with its contents, taking special note to understand the ways the document has changed over time and affects life today.
Step 2: Complete the Constitution exam. Refer to the Constitution on this multiple-choice exam, and answer a minimum 28/33 (85%) of the questions correctly to pass.
Step 3: Select one or more of the signers of the Constitution hailing from South Carolina— Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Rutledge, Pierce Butler—on whom to complete a creative research project.
Step 4: Visit the SCHS Archives either virtually or in-person to read primary and secondary source documents from the lives of the South Carolina signers.
Step 5: Produce an original project that summarizes the research completed on the South Carolina signers. Choose a format that reflects personal skills and interests. Projects may include, but are not limited to: videos, essays, artwork, music, creative writing. Each project should include a bibliography to show which SCHS source was used, and any outside sources consulted.