In Olympia, state representatives and senators sponsor students to participate in the page program, which allows the students to see how the Legislature works and to actually participate in the process.
When I learned of this program, I immediately thought of asking Rep. Hawkins to sponsor me for the program because right off the bat he seemed very excited and enthusiastic about the program. This year, I was fortunate enough to participate in this program.
When I reported to the page room in the legislative building on a Monday morning, I had no idea what to expect and was a little bit nervous.
However, I was immediately welcomed by the “page mom,” Mrs. Robertson, and put to work.
For the next week, my average day started at 8 a.m. and for the first five hours, we mainly delivered documents and supplies to the representatives, worked in the cafeteria and did whatever else was needed.
Of these activities, my favorite part was working on the chamber floor because I really got to see how the Legislature worked. For instance, we were able to see live debate, what happens in a caucus and how our state government works.
For the last two hours of the day, I attended a class taught by Mr. Oleary. In this class, we did many activities. For example, we learned vocabulary of the capital through a word search, listened to guest speakers, and had the chance to make our own bill. We worked on our bill almost every day, and on Thursday we had the chance to testify in front of the other pages. All of the hearings were broadcasted on the TV station, TVW.
At the end of the day, I, along with five other pages, went home to our host family. Our host family went out of their way to cook us great meals and make sure that we were as comfortable as possible.
Jack Yount is an eighth-grade student from Pioneer Middle School.
Want to be a page?
To become a page, applicants must have a legislative sponsor, be between the ages of 14 and 16, and obtain written permission from their parents and school. For more information about the legislative page program, visit: www.leg.wa.gov/House/Pages/HousePageProgram.aspx