MANCHESTER -- Sen. Patrick Leahy chatted online with eighth grade students from the Maple Street School on Tuesday via the video-conferencing program Skype, discussing topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln to what to do in Washington D.C.

Leahy took the time to chat from his office in the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in between votes on judicial nominations. Since 1995, when Leahy started holding online chats, he has spoken with more than 100 classes of all ages.

"I'm always thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with Vermonters and share ideas," said Leahy, "and these students asked some great questions."

The interview came after students spent the last few weeks researching Abraham Lincoln and the qualities that made him a great leader, according to Kate Bryan of the Maple Street School.

Sen. Patrick Leahy speaks to students at Maple Street School in Manchester via Skype on Tuesday. The conversation touched on many topics including Abraham
Sen. Patrick Leahy speaks to students at Maple Street School in Manchester via Skype on Tuesday. The conversation touched on many topics including Abraham Lincoln and leadership. (Office of Sen. Patrick Leahy )
They had previously interviewed Sarah Hadden of Manchester, founder of the KURA (Kids Uniting for Rural Africa) Project; James Hathaway of Dorset, co-founder of Clear Path International; Judy Livingston of Manchester, a former state representative from Bennington County; and Lisa Kelly of Winhall, founder of Heart Works in Vermont. Students also chose Leahy as such a leader, and reached out to his office for the opportunity to interview him.

Maple Street School, currently in its 16th school year, is a independent school that describes itself as "a beacon of excellence in elementary education, and our mission in action allows children to be joyful learners who develop the skills they need to become thoughtful, motivated citizens in the 21st century." The school has about 100 students between grades K-8, and has produced students whose attended institutes of higher learning include Yale, Northeastern, Worcester Polytechnic, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB