The sweet smell of fresh flakey crusts and fruit fillings lured hundreds of people to the fourth floor of the Capitol on Wednesday for Pie Day.
Sponsored by the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators every year since 1992, Pie Day has become an institution at the Statehouse.
In honor of the occasion, home school students and teachers baked more than 150 pies. Marge Ness, Pie Day chairwoman, said there were more than three dozen flavors of pie up for grabs. Slices of apple, cherry, pecan, banana cream, peach, Reese’s peanut butter cup, blueberry, coconut cream pie and more were served up to all comers.
“Most people’s favorite is pecan, but everybody likes to try all the different flavors,” Ness said.
Barry Peters, president of the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators, said the event is designed to allow home school students and teachers to share their experience with lawmakers, state officials and other guests at the Capitol.
“It’s essentially kind of a show-and-tell for home schoolers,” Peters said.
In addition to sharing pie, home school students set up booths and dioramas highlighting school projects and extra curricular activities. Projects dedicated to 4-H, Idaho history and geography, gardening, music, hatching chicks and a debate team lined the hallway under the rotunda.
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Sen. President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, spent time with the home educators before the Senate went into session as he sampled a slice of banana cream pie.
Hill said he enjoyed asking students what they were studying and what they thought the positives and negatives of a home-school education were for them.
“I like going up to the kids and finding out what kind of experience they have had,” Hill said.
Pie Day started in 1992, when home educators baked up cherry pies to distribute in the Capitol to celebrate President George Washington’s birthday.
Peters said there are about 5,000 home-schooled students in Idaho. Although Peters said home educators are not pushing any specific legislation or policy initiatives this year, he does have a message for lawmakers. Peters said he uses the event – and slices of free pie – to thank legislators for giving parents the freedom to chose if they would like to home school their children.
“Our one message to the Legislature is ‘thank you,’” Peters said. “We have the best laws in the county for home educators. It gives us the clear, explicit right to teach our children at home.”
For information about the coalition, visit the coalition’s website.