JOLIET, IL – Second and third graders from Cunningham Elementary, along with their teacher Miss Fran Hollister, witnessed today Governor Rod R. Blagojevich sign Senate Bill 185 that made their class project, to make popcorn the official snack food of the State of Illinois, become law.
“While the students learned a lesson in civics, we hope that the publicity the children received will spur the production, consumption and passion for popcorn in Illinois even more,” said Governor Blagojevich. Popcorn production in Illinois ranks third in the nation according to the Illinois Statistics Services (ISS).
The most recent statistics from ISS also show that in 1997 Illinois harvested 46,970 acres of the movie-time treat and of all Illinois counties Mason County produced the most popcorn.
The assignment, to learn how the students can make a difference, taught them how to write persuasively and how to use technology for research. Results of their research found that an unadorned, natural version of the popped snack is a healthy alternative to junkfood. They also conducted a poll where they discovered that of the 311 citizens surveyed an overwhelming majority – 140 – picked popcorn over potato chips and cookies as the official state snack.
The “Cunningham Kernel Kids,” also experienced first-hand the legislative process when bill sponsor State Senator Larry Walsh (D-Joliet) invited them to watch the vote at the State Capitol.
Popcorn joins the company of the Violet, the State Flower; the Flourite, the State Mineral; the White-tailed Deer, the State Animal; the Bluegill, the State fish and the Tully Monster, the State Fossil.