Todd Fourth Graders Learn about Government Straight from the Source

Senator Pete Harkham (third from right, back row) with Superintendent James Kaishian and two fourth grade classes

State Senator Pete Harckham is a busy man. But not too busy to stop by Todd School to meet with fourth graders to discuss pressing government issues.

After greeting all Todd students as they arrived on the first day of school, Harckham visited Lorraine McDermott and Melissa Magliulo’s fourth grade students, who will be studying government as part of their curriculum this year.

Harkham introduced himself as a State Senator.

“I represent 350,000 people here in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties,” he said. “One of the things we are responsible for is helping to fund the schools and set school policy. We also make the laws and protect the environment.”

Harckham shared that he chairs the Environmental Committee.

“We work to keep our drinking water clean, keep our air clean and we work on electrifying vehicles like cars and hopefully school buses soon, so you could come to school in a clean, efficient vehicle.”

McDermott asked about electric school buses and wanted to know how soon the district will have them.

“In the Bond Act that people voted for last year, we earmarked $500 million to get the process started,” Harckham replied. “It will be a gradual process but it will start as early as next year, and by 2035, all buses will be electric.”

The Senator discussed the benefits of electric buses and cars.

“It is better for the environment that we are not putting carbon out and electric vehicles can also avoid the gasoline or diesel smell,” he said.

Some students shared that their parents have electric cars and also shared the process of charging them.

“Electrifying buses is one of the things that Senator Harckham is working on,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Kaishian, who was in attendance. “When you grow up, you might want to make the world a little bit better. You can do it as an elected official or just being a regular citizen, but this is one of the things we do together to make the world better.”

“Everybody can help make the world a better place every day just by being nice to each other,” Harckham said. “That’s a great start. Thank you for letting me visit you. I hope to come back to the class after you study about government and maybe answer some questions you may have and explain to you what I do, based on what you learned.”

“I hope the students can begin to learn about the role of government and the positive impact government can have on people’s lives,” Harckham said after the visit.

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