CLARK — Fourth graders at the Valley Road School in Clark visited the State House in Trenton earlier this month as part of an application of their study of New Jersey.
Upon their arrival, one group attended a special Make A Law Workshop, while the other group went on a tour. After 45 minutes at each site, the groups switched so that both groups of fourth graders had the opportunity to participate in the lawmaking exercise and get a tour of the State House.
As part of the State House tour, the fourth graders viewed the portraits of each of New Jersey’s Governors, visited the Governor’s Office, General Assembly Chamber, and Senate Chamber. State Sen. Kevin O’Toole met up with the fourth graders and not only gave them a personalized tour, but also allowed them an exclusive visit to the lawmakers’ chambers.
O’Toole explained how the lawmakers were elected, how they voted in the chamber, how each of the 40 legislative districts is comprised of two assembly members and one senator, and the value of living in a democracy. As a special surprise to O’Toole, when posing for a group picture, the fourth graders pulled out masks they had made depicting the Senator’s image, and a unique group photograph of 50 “Senator O’Toole’s” was taken.
Clark Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Knops said, “Having had the pleasure of attending the field trip with the fourth graders, it was a delight to see how much interest and enthusiasm Senator O’Toole stimulated in the impressionable nine and ten year olds. Through Senator O’Toole’s interest in our students, his obvious love of government, and his sense of humor, he made the field trip an interesting and informative extension of the students’ knowledge of the legislative branch of government. By day’s end a number of fourth graders were saying this was their favorite field trip while others were pondering a future in government.”
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