The following article was written by Seward High School freshman Lindy Guernsey. For more high school news, please visit our site http://shstoday.org/
In the summer of 2016, Ashley Guernsey applied to be a senate page for the fall-winter session, and she was selected by Lisa Murkowski to attend the Senate Page School and work in the Senate. Ashley decided to apply to the page school because she “thought it would be interesting to observe the Senate.”
She packed up and moved to Washington, D.C. for the semester long program where she lived in a dormitory with 29 other Senate pages. In D.C. she worked at the Capitol while going to school in the early mornings. Ashley got up around 5am, on weekdays, to be at the Senate Page School (located downstairs from the dorms) at 6 am. After school, the Senate pages walked to the Capitol at 9:45 am for work.
Ashley didn’t expect the Capitol to be so beautiful. At work, the pages sat “on the steps at the Senate floor;” they were responsible for monitoring the amount of water the senators and clerks had, setting up and taking down podiums, delivering important documents, among other duties. “Whenever amendments were introduced on the floor, we would make 23 copies and deliver them to 23 specific locations,” Ashley informs us.
Throughout the program, Ashley met lots of noteworthy people including Senator Booker, President Obama, Vice President Biden, President Trump, and Vice President Pence, and lots of others. “Depending on your definition of ‘meet’…[she] saw all 100 senators on a regular basis,” so even though she wasn’t introduced, she saw them many times. Ashley enjoyed her time in D.C., and she said “it would have been cool if it lasted all year.”
Living in D.C., Ashley learned a lot. She was surprised that so much positive legislation was introduced because “the news seems to always focus on the negative.” She also gained knowledge on how the federal government operated from being around it, and she learned about state government in her political science class. As she lived in D.C., she began to “miss the cold” because D.C. happens to be a lot warmer. To her surprise, “people were trying to get [her to] put coats on” when it was only 50 degrees! Culturally, D.C. is different from Alaska, and Ashley found the differences interesting.
Ashley’s experience in D.C. “gave [her] hope in America’s future.” As she sat in on the Senate “every day [she] knew that history was being made.” However, there were times when her work “was hard,” but she was never bored when there were discussions going on.
Overall, despite the times when things were tough, Ashley loved being a Senate page. She would recommend the Senate page program to “anyone who is interested in international relations, politics, the government, or journalism.”