State Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, got a comprehensive tour of Unadilla Valley Central School on Jan. 14.
The tour was the brainchild of seniors Alexandra Bodie and Kaylee Fairchild, who wrote a letter to Seward inviting him to the school to visit their Participation in Government class.
Before and after the class, Seward toured the building and met with dozens of staff and faculty. All-told, Seward spent nearly three hours at Unadilla Valley and received tours from Superintendent Robert Mackey, Middle/High School Principal Frank Johnson and Head Maintenance Mechanic Bill Beadle.
Stops included several classrooms, the libraries, cafeteria and kitchen, the school-based health center, swimming pool and other important areas of the school building.
“I’m very, very impressed by what I have seen and heard here. From the faculty to the staff to the administration, everybody seems to be upbeat and positive,” Seward said at the conclusion of his tour.
Participation in Government Teacher Rick Loeffler welcomed Seward to his classroom and the senator, who has served for 30 years in Albany, talked about what it’s like to be a state senator and what his job entails.
But for much of the class, the dialogue was laser-focused on the most hot-button issues in Albany: The governor’s budget proposal; corruption; the $15 minimum wage proposal; education funding and many more.
Students asked pointed questions, including: What does the minimum wage increase mean for those making $20 an hour? Will those people see an increase in their wages?
Seward said those are exactly the kinds of questions the business community is raising in the minimum wage discussions.
In closing remarks to the class, Seward encouraged students to be involved in government.
“I hope that now and throughout your life you make your thoughts known to those who represent you,” he said.
After the class, the students who had invited Seward reflected on his visit.
“I thought it was really cool because we never actually had someone like that come in to our school and speak to one of our classes,” Bodie said.
She and Fairchild said they thought Seward’s visit was a great success.
“I thought the questions our classmates asked were great questions. The way he answered them was great. He broadened our perspective on government,” Fairchild said.
State Sen. James L. Seward leads a Participation in Government class at UV
through a discussion about challenges and issues facing state government.
State Sen. James L. Seward, R- Milford, chats with Kaylee Fairchild, left, and
Alexandra Bodie, on Jan. 14. The students invited Seward to the school.
Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, visits with UV Superintendent Robert Mackey,
center, and Middle/High School Principal Frank Johnson on Jan. 14.