Education

Bellefonte middle school students get a taste of politics

With the help of Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, Bellefonte Area Middle School student council leaders went through a bill’s lifecycle in Harrisburg last month.
With the help of Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, Bellefonte Area Middle School student council leaders went through a bill’s lifecycle in Harrisburg last month. Photo provided

Members of Bellefonte Area Middle School’s student council got a taste of politics on a much grander scale last month when they spent a day in Harrisburg with Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Benner Township.

This field trip tied into what student council is all about. It gave our students the chance to learn about the legislative process and to better understand their roles as student leaders and school advocates.

Erin Harrison, Bellefonte Area Middle School teacher and student council adviser

“This field trip tied into what student council is all about,” teacher and adviser Erin Harrison said. “It gave our students the chance to learn about the legislative process and to better understand their roles as student leaders and school advocates.”

Harrison said the original plan was to visit Harrisburg and take a tour of legislative offices. But when organizers reached out to Corman, a representative suggested something a little different.

The Senator for a Day activities started early on April 12, with a group photo with Corman on the Senate floor, followed by a lesson on the legislative process, mock committee meetings and a mock general session meeting.

The students also had the opportunity to draft faux bills, which they worked on prior to the field trip.

Students split up into committees and formed their own bills, which they advocated for during sessions in Harrisburg

Harrison said students were divided into two committees — education and transportation. Each committee was assigned two bills to prepare for the “General Assembly.”

“The students spent several weeks leading up to the trip reviewing the materials to become experts for their committee,” Harrison said. “Under the direction of Pennsylvania lobbyists while in Harrisburg, students worked within their committees to amend and defend their bills.”

Students then brought their bills to a mock general session, where Corman served as the president of the Senate.

“This was an incredible learning experience for our students,” Harrison said.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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