Two Franklin High School ninth graders spent a week in Raleigh serving in the highly competitive Senate Page Program with Senator Jim Davis. Audra Cloer and Carly Davis travelled to Raleigh for a once in a lifetime experience with the North Carolina General Assembly.
The North Carolina Senate’s Page Program offers young men and women the opportunity to learn about and participate in the legislative process of our state. It is a week-long experience that allows high school students between the ages of 15 (or 14 if already in the 9th grade) and 18, to observe firsthand how state laws are made. It provides them the unique privilege of working on the Senate Chamber floor in the midst of legislative action.
“My favorite part of the experience was being able to meet so many people, including all other 49 senators in North Carolina,” said Audra. “I loved to be able to hang out with the other pages that were part of the program that week. While being there, Carly and I became very close friends with the other pages, one night we all met up at the mall and went out to eat. It was so fun to meet new people and interact with them as much as we could while being there that week.”
The Senate Page selection process is highly competitive. Official appointments are made by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate based on recommendations by individual senators. Each senator is allotted a number of students he or she can “sponsor” each session. Students submit their application to their senator who selects the individuals to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore. Appointments are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Senators are encouraged to sponsor students from a variety of backgrounds so that pages will be able to meet a diverse group of young people from across the state.
Senate Pages are important to the operation of the General Assembly as they assist the members and staff of the Senate during the legislative session. They participate in daily sessions, committee meetings, and perform other duties including, but not limited to, delivering messages and materials within the legislative complex, answering phones in senators’ offices, and passing out documents or running errands in the Senate Chamber during daily sessions.
“Both Audra and I were responsible for delivering bills and other paperwork from the Principal Clerk while in session,” said Carly. “Out of session was a lot of running errands for other senators. I wanted to serve as a page because I knew it was a great opportunity to see the inner workings of our state government.”
“While being there I thought it would be a lot more strict, but really during our down time and not being in the chamber we were able to go see Senator Davis and also help any other senators that needed things to be done,” said Audra. “While being there Carly and I were assigned to the Clerk of State, who is part of the Lt. Governor’s staff. Carly and I were responsible for taking bills and laws into their offices.”
Both Audra and Carly said that they wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to serve as a page to see how their state government works firsthand.
“A lot of things made me want to be able to take the opportunity,” Audra. “I really looked forward to meeting new people and to also say that I was one of the few that has had the experience in Franklin. Serving as a page will also be good to use on college and job applications in the future.”
“I wanted to serve as a page because I knew it was a great opportunity to see the inner workings of our state government,” said Carly.