On May 15, Cyril and I got to do the thing that we like best at the State House. This time, the fourth graders from Pittsfield Elementary School visited. The purpose of the visit is to become familiar with the function of the three branches of government and how the laws are made. Virginia Drew, who runs the State House Visitor Center, and her staff manage the tour process and ensure the class learns the fundamentals of how the State House works, all consistent with the fourth-grade civic history curriculum. Cyril, Sen. Howard Pearl & I, the Representatives, and Senator for Pittsfield also participated. By the close of this article, you’ll agree with us, and be impressed by the deep thinking of the 4th graders from Pittsfield.
The tour began in Reps Hall, where the 400 State Representatives work. Mrs. Drew proposed the infamous bill adding 10 min each day to their favorite subjects – lunch, recess & extracurricular activities but ultimately getting home 1 hour later. To our surprise, the class favored learning and extending the day. After much “testimony” from the student representatives, the bill passed! THIS was the FIRST class in the history of school tours to ever pass the “Extra Hour” in school bill!
We moved to the Senate Chamber, where Senator Pearl clarified that the bill they passed as representatives would also have to pass the Senate and get signed by the Governor before it became law. Sen. Pearl shared and answered a broad variety of questions. The students showed excellent observation skills by asking several about the room’s embellishments and dress codes. We finished the Senate tour with a group picture.
The next stop was the Governor’s office, where the executive council meets with the Governor to run the state. Mrs. Drew made a student temporary Governor, asked him to select a 5-member Executive Council and nominate a Superior Court Judge. “Gov. George” showed great wisdom by nominating Phoenix to be a judge. The testimonials from the class verified that because of his listening ability, knowledge of the rules and disciplined nature, he would make a perfect appointment to the Supreme Court! The council of five approved the Governor’s nomination for the bench. Mrs. Drew, who’s daughter used to teach in PES made this tour extremely fun and educational!
The final stop was the Hall of Flags. The history and flags of this display are moving and impress even the youngest of minds. I recommend this stop to anyone who visits the capital.
Cyril, Howard, and I would like to thank the Pittsfield fourth graders and teachers for a very interesting and rewarding “session” at the State House. We were impressed with their questions and attitude and pleased to be part of their class experience.
Sincerely, Representatives Clayton Wood and Cyril Aures