Six Harford County high school are serving as student pages during the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session in Annapolis.
This year's local page class includes Karly Horn of The John Carroll School, Natalie Hutcheson of C. Milton Wright High School, Kennan Kros of Edgewood High School, Jeffrey Mason of North Harford High School, Rebecca Parrish of Edgewood High School and Kelly Stifler of The John Carroll School.
Pages were selected following an arduous application process that included a written test and extensive oral interviews before a 12-person committee, consisting of peers and educators from around the county, who tested the applicants on their knowledge of politics and other various topics.
According to Harford County Public Schools, the five highest scorers, based on a published rubric, have the honor of being a page in Annapolis. The student with the sixth highest score is the alternate who will replace anyone who cannot serve because of illness.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime, behind-the-scenes experience for prospective future law, government and policy students to experience first-hand the inner machinations of state government and politics," J. Patrick Whitehurst, coordinator of the student page program in Harford County and Fallston High government teacher, said.
The pages are serving in the 2014 legislative session that began in early January and continues through April. They will spend two, non-consecutive weeks with host families in Annapolis while serving in either the House of Delegates or the Maryland Senate. The pages are paid a stipend to cover their living expenses
The members of the 2014 Harford legislative page class have impressive personal credentials.
Karly Horn, 17, is president of her senior class, treasurer of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and member of the National Honor Society, the Friend to Friend Club and her school's a cappella group. She is active in chorus and theatre in both her school and the community, including the Children's Playhouse of Maryland and Harford Community College. In addition, she is a dancer at The John Carroll Academy of Performing Arts. She hopes to attend The University of Richmond.
Natalie Hutcheson, 17, is senior class president and a member of the Student Government Association, the National Honor Society and the varsity tennis and cross country teams. She plans to attend the University of Maryland College Park to study for a degree in international business.
Keenan Kros, 17, is a student in the International Baccalaureate magnet program at Edgewood High School. He is captain of the academic team and the varsity soccer team and is a member of the National Honor Society and the varsity lacrosse team. He hopes to attend either Purdue University or Miami University to major in chemical engineering.
Jeffrey Mason, 17, grandson of former Baltimore County Councilman Donald C. Mason, is captain of the speech and debate team and a member of the National Honor Society and the Mock Trial Club. He hopes to attend St. Mary's College of Maryland or George Mason University.
Rebecca Parrish, 17, is a student in the International Baccalaureate magnet program at Edgewood High School and is treasurer of the National Honor Society and a member of the Youth and Government program and the varsity soccer team. In addition, she volunteers for Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding and participated in the People to People Student Ambassador Programs to Canada and Europe and a leadership summit in Washington, D.C. She hopes to attend Lynchburg College or Sweet Briar College.
Kelly Stifler, 17, is a member of the Ceramics Club and is active in her church's youth group. She will be traveling on a mission trip to Honduras this May and she collected 510 cans for her school's canned food drive this school year. The daughter of Del. Donna Stifler, she plans to attend College of Charleston or Salisbury University.
A Student Page Breakfast was held in December at Aberdeen High School, where the newly-named pages spent the morning getting to know each other and the Harford County legislators they would be assisting during the session, which began Jan. 8.
The breakfast afforded the students an opportunity to ask questions and exchange contact information. The pages' parents, as well as school and elected officials, also were invited.
Alex McArtor, the breakfast keynote speaker, is a Maryland Youth in Government legislative intern and assistant adviser intern for Harford State Sen. Barry Glassman's 2014 campaign for county executive. McArtor, who was a student page in 2013, shared his insight about the experience of serving as a page and to congratulate this year's group.
Del. Richard Impallaria, chair of the Harford delegation, also addressed the pages, assuring them, "If you have any questions or concerns, we are there for you. We are looking forward to working with each of you. "
In addition to Impallaria, other legislators attending were Dels. Kathy Szeliga, Mary-Dulany James, Donna Stifler, Glen Glass, Pat McDonough and Susan McComas and Sens. Glassman and J. B. Jennings.
Interim School Superintendent Barbara P. Canavan and Harford County Board of Education member Alysson Krchnavy brought greetings from the school system and commended the pages for having been selected for this opportunity.
The statewide Student Page in Annapolis Program has been ongoing for nearly 35 years. According to the Harford public school system, every high school in Harford County is urged to participate in the program, and each school has an equal chance of having its candidates selected in the competitive process.