SPRINGFIELD - A group of determined Bloomington grade school students studying Illinois history moved a step closer to leaving their own mark on it Thursday.
The Illinois House approved a measure they proposed to make every Feb. 5 Adlai Stevenson Day in Illinois.
Janenne Scott, a third-grade teacher at Oakland Elementary School in Bloomington, guided third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students through their studies of Adlai Stevenson II.
Students previously convinced then-Mayor Judy Markowitz to declare in 2004 an annual Adlai Stevenson Day in Bloomington.
Scott said state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, challenged the students to try the same thing in Springfield, and he arranged for the students to visit and tour the Capitol.
"If this would become law, they could take with them the thought that as a young student at Oakland school, they produced legislation that forever would have in the State of Illinois Adlai Stevenson Day," Brady said. "Telling the students that, they were all enthused."
The students put together a DVD presentation with special effects and historical research to present their case.
Scott said pushing for the commemorative day has given students opportunities to learn things beyond the classroom.
"They learned all kinds of research skills with hands-on archives and with old magazines and books and papers, things that they'd never at this age be able to get their hands on," Scott said.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich declared Feb. 5, 2008, to be Adlai E. Stevenson II Day as a result of the students' efforts. The proposed law would make the annual designation permanent.
Adlai Stevenson II was born in Los Angeles in 1900, but he was raised in Bloomington.
He served as the 31st governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953. He ran two unsuccessful campaigns for U.S. president as the Democratic nominee against Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956, and served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1961 until his death in 1965.
The measure now moves to the Senate for further debate.
The legislation is House Bill 4127.