Fourth graders at Thomas Jefferson School got a lesson in how laws are made and how elections work from Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele on Wednesday.
Aichele visited the classes of Anita Hozza and Kim Grube, where students have been conducting a mock state legislature.
With students acting as Pennsylvania Senators and Representatives, they passed a mock bill to modify the length of the school day while still keeping the number of hours of instruction as required by the state.
Several amendments were added to the bill, including one that would require the serving of ice cream on every Friday.
At issue for debate, in addition to ice cream versus a “healthy-food” option, were the merits of eliminating recess in favor of a shorter school day.
While the frozen Friday amendment initially passed, the elimination of recess was roundly rejected by House members.
The Senate passed the measure as presented by the House, but the bill was then vetoed by the governor, played by Aichele, who cited that she favored a healthier alternative.
Returned to the House, the bill with the ice cream measure surprisingly failed to pass with the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.
However, an additional amendment passed with the needed two-thirds to provide a choice between ice cream and a healthier alternative.
The Senate then concurred unanimously, successfully overriding the veto and becoming "law".
Aichele, who taught fourth grade in California long before being appointed to her current role with the state, also talked with students about the upcoming primary election. She encouraged students to accompany their parents to the polls to see the voting process in person.
Aichele additionally quizzed students on their multiplication tables, stressing the importance of good math skills to those that would be future leaders.
“And I'm sure you're all going to be our future's leaders,” she told the students.
An appointed position, the Secretary of the Commonwealth heads the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections.