SPRING HILL — When state Sen. Mike Fasano visited J.D. Floyd K-8 School of Environmental Science on Sept. 9 to talk with Student Council members, his visit was meant to encourage community service.
The students indicated after the visit that they got the message. But it was another topic that really got them talking — the possibility of year-round school.
There are about 70 third- to eighth-graders on the council. The entire eighth grade was also invited to hear what the senator had to say.
"He was telling us the importance of helping out the community," said eighth-grader Allyssa Cowgill, 15. "It's important to help out other people because you would want someone to help you out in hard times."
"I learned that Sen. Fasano really cares about children and their education and wants to make school all year," said fifth-grader Mallory Thompson, 10. "I'm glad he cares about schools and education, but I don't want school year round. I would want free time."
Another student, eighth-grader Keith White, 13, was eager to comment, too.
"He wants school to be year round and have less days off," he said, "and I don't agree with that too much. He might think that would benefit us more and give us a better education. We don't necessarily need it year round. I think we're getting a fine education."
Seventh-grader Gabrielle Valenzano, 12, had a different idea. "I think we should have more days off than we have," Gabrielle said.
She said she likes the idea of three-day weekends.
One student, sixth-grader Allyssa Uchytil, 12, had another point of view, more in agreement with Fasano. "We should have more school and less vacation," Allyssa said.
Eighth-grader Elise Webster, 13, changed the discussion to the senator's public service.
"I learned that he's very devoted to his job, because he has to make decisions that will benefit us." Elise said.
Seventh-grader Samantha Blanchette, 12, said: "I learned that (his) job is fun, but it's hard, because you have to pass some laws and some laws are not appropriate to pass."
Some of the students admitted being impressed by the senator's visit and might even consider politics in their futures.
"It inspires me, because you can figure out what to do for your community and vote for laws that are good and leave the bad laws out," Samantha said.
"I'm inspired by him for what he does for our community and passing the laws that are best for us," Allyssa said.
Keith was a little more hesitant. "It's not that we were extremely inspired, but I might consider being a politician," he said.
A politician, he suspected, might have more insight into a community and know its needs, which would be helpful.
Fasano, a Republican from New Port Richey who represents western Hernando County, stayed at the school for about 45 minutes. His visit was coordinated by Student Council advisers Maryellen Flynn and Eileen Walls, who are also exceptional education teachers. "We wanted the kids to know about community service," Flynn said, "and the importance of running for office."