In United States Government classes at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS), students learn about how the political system works -- with a little help from the legislators themselves. Recently State Representative Mary Jo Daley (D-148) and State Representative Matt Bradford (D-61) each visited one of PWHS Teacher Chris Manero's classes to share their experiences working in government at the state level.
"It was interesting to hear from someone with an inside knowledge of politics," said Noah Seitchik, a senior at PWHS who heard Rep. Daley speak. "She talked a lot about the process."
Both representatives explained how campaigning works, the importance of listening to constituents, their daily duties and the depth of the discussions in Harrisburg needed to move legislation forward. Most of the questions dealt with gaining a better understanding of the legislators' role, like asking how many days they actually spend in Harrisburg during the year or what their workday involves. For Rep. Daley, students were also curious about her experiences as a woman in the legislature.
However, at the end of the day, the seniors couldn't help but touch on the current political divide with the two visitors, who are both Democrats.
"It was more informational than political, and I realize that I'm not as informed as I should be," said PWHS senior Jacqueline Amuszewski.
Encouraging students to get involved
United States Government is a required class for all seniors at PWHS, and the social studies department's main goal for the course is to encourage students to vote and realize the difference they can make."As a teacher, I take pride in having no spin in the classroom. I don't care who they vote for as long as they get involved," said Mr. Manero, whose students don't only benefit from having a government official in the classroom when they have visitors. Mr. Manero took his teaching about involvement to heart by running and winning a seat on Plymouth Township Council in 2015. In addition to sharing his experiences living through a campaign and the election process, Mr. Manero also brings real world issues from the local area into the classroom for the students to explore and discuss.