Model Senate Program - Real Life Experience

Model Senate Program Provides Real-Life Experience
Posted on 05/25/2018
Model Senate Program Provides Real-Life Experience

With intense curiosity and open minds, six Wyomissing Area High School juniors jumped at the opportunity to participate in Senator Judy Schwank’s h-annual Berks County Model Senate program.

Maggie Ferrandino, Vittoria D’Addesi, Erin Drebushenko, Chloe Gehret, Sarah Fleischood, and Emily Weidner are members of Mr. Joe Alcaro’s AP US Government and Politics class.

“I have been involved in politics since the 2016 election,” Vittoria explains. “Mr. Alcaro’s class helped me understand our government better and this program sounded very interesting.”

Emily explains that one of her friends participated in 2017, so she knew what to expect. “Not only did I learn more about politics,” she says, “It was a good experience that helped me open up.”

The Berks County Model Senate program is broken into three sessions. During the first session, students met at Senator Schwank’s office to elect a governor and caucus leaders and appoint committee chairs.

At this session, Vittoria D’Addesi was elected governor. The students then decided which bills would be introduced and brought up their own proposals for debate.

Throughout the next month, the students discussed their bills outside of school in preparation for the second session. e students’ bills addressed legalizing cannabis, teachers’ right to carry rearms, and single-use plastic bags.

During the second session, students met with experts in the fields in which the proposed bills were grounded to ask questions and finalize their bills.

The final session brought the students together in Harrisburg. is daylong session included a brief tour of the State Capitol building, as well as a formal introduction from the floor by Senator Schwank. After watching the Pennsylvania Senate debate legislation, the students engaged in their final debate and voted on their three pieces of legislation.

Emily says that engaging with her peers on the final day was her favorite part. She explains, “It wasn’t till that last day that we knew what the other caucus was thinking.”

Maggie comments, “Watching the Senate debate legislation, I was surprised at how unorganized it actually is.”

At the end of the day, the girls were grateful for the experience and were disappointed that they couldn’t do it again next year.