The third-annual Constitution Project got underway Tuesday with a gathering in a Texas County Justice Center courtroom.

Founded and directed by Texas County Associate Circuit Judge Doug Gaston, the project is a competition designed to give high school students a better appreciation for the U.S. Constitution, as well as a first-hand look at the jobs people do in various aspects of the criminal justice system (including law enforcement officers, lawyers, judges, journalists and others).

This year marks the first time that students outside Texas County will be involved; from among dozens of schools that applied around the state, eight were selected to field teams, including south-central district representatives Houston and Dixon.

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