Modesto-area students, parents: Scholarships available

This is the eighth year of the American Heritage Scholarship Series, which includes a public lecture and an essay competition for Stanislaus County juniors and seniors.

The program is intended to encourage teens, and the public, to think about what makes the United States unique in the world, with a focus on the Constitution. Previous lectures have looked at the Patriot Act, the First Amendment, the separation of church and state, and the role of political parties.

This year's subject was chosen to coincide with the Lincoln Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the most influential of the 44 U.S. presidents.

The main speaker will be Daniel Farber, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of "Lincoln's Constitution."

Also appearing will be William Peck. Peck is a retired Superior Court clerk from San Diego who does frequent Lincoln portrayals.

Wednesday's free program begins at 7 p.m. in the Petersen Event Center, 720 12th St., Modesto.

The rules for the essay contest have been sent to high schools in the county and are available at

Home-schooled students are welcome to enter.

More information is available from the Stanislaus County Office of Education, 238-1706, a lead sponsor of the event. Modesto City Schools and The Bee also are sponsors, with scholarship funding provided by local businesses, organizations and individuals.