For the fifth year state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, held his annual student government seminar recently at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
More than 200 students attended the event, which brought elected officials from all levels together to speak with students and teach them about the legislative process.
“The purpose of today is to give you a little taste of how the laws that affect you are made and how these discussions are,” Yaw told the crowd of students and advisers.
He encouraged students to ask questions and get involved in discussions throughout the day.
To begin the event, Drew Crompton, counsel and chief of staff to Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Brokway, opened with an exercise to help attendees think about their beliefs and how others think.
Crompton asked students to choose from a list of what they believe has the most influence on legislation, and also what the difference is between parties. He also used volunteers from the crowd to help show how bills are introduced.
Students then were split into groups in classrooms in order to actively participate in a simulated version of how bills are debated and eventually passed into law.
In each classroom, students were put into two groups – a majority and minority party committee – and given a bill. Each group discussed the bill and made amendments to it. Once making amendments in their individual parties, they brought them to the floor to be discussed by both parties. The amendments and bill then was voted on.
“All of the issues that we discussed will be issues that they will help to shape,” said state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, who attended the seminar.
And as students debated the bills, Mirabito enjoyed seeing their passion.
“It’s nice to see their passion about issues that they care about and we debate every day,” he said.
During the afternoon session, students were given the opportunity to speak with panel speakers on a variety of subjects.
Yaw hoped that students would learn about government and added that there always is “bright kids”
“I just hope they have some appreciation for the government process and get the chance to talk with some individuals involved,” Yaw said.
Kyle Bomboy, of Hughesville High School, also was presented with the Peggy Madigan Scholarship. Students needed to write an essay on service in the community and the benefit of their service.
And Yaw hopes that through the seminar, students will develop an interest in government and participate.
“It’s a fun day for the kids to come and participate in,” he said.