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Hampton 4th graders lobby state lawmakers

Students from Spratley Gifted Center propose striped bass as official state saltwater fish

February 20, 2011|Joe Dashiell | Reporter

RICHMOND, Va. — Every year, dozens of school groups visit the State Capitol to see the General Assembly in action.  This year one group of students from Hampton was part of the action.

On Wednesday, Michele Ferrel’s fourth grade class posed for a photograph outside the General Assembly building, but that wasn’t the only souvenir the students from Spratley Gifted School were hoping to take home.

"The striped bass are counting on you," student Cureha Mitchell told members of a House of Delegates committee.  The students were asking Virginia lawmakers to recognize the striped bass as the official state saltwater fish.

Faith Love spoke of the role the striped bass has played in Virginia history. "People long ago, such as the first settlers and even Thomas Jefferson, the architect of our State Capitol depended on it," she said.

Concerned about the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and the future of its fishery, the students asked Newport News Senator John Miller to carry the bill. He agreed if they would work hard on the project, lobby lawmakers and testify.  

"We care about the future of the striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay and I hope you do too," added Xavier Suyre.

Members of the committee approved the bill unanimously.  Now the 4th graders are hoping the full House of Delegates will receive their heartfelt message hook, line and sinker.

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