With the Maryland General Assembly opening for its 2016 session Wednesday, six Harford County high school seniors will be standing by to serve as legislative pages.
The seniors chosen to be legislative pages during this year's session in Annapolis, are Sophia Ames of Edgewood High School, Will Bolton of The John Carroll School, Emily Godwin of C. Milton Wright High School, Caroline Hickman of C. Milton Wright High School, Madelyn Miller of Edgewood High School and Kishan Patel of The John Carroll School.
The pages were selected following a lengthy application process that included a written test and an extensive oral interview before a 12-person committee of peers and educators from around the county, who quizzed the applicants on their knowledge of politics and other various topics.
Based on a published rubric, the five highest scorers have the honor of being a page in Annapolis; the sixth highest score on the rubric 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 law, government and policy students to experience first-hand the inner workings of state government and politics," J. Patrick Whitehurst, coordinator of the student page program in Harford County and Fallston High School government teacher, said.
A Student Page Breakfast was held Dec. 3 at Patterson Mill High School, where the newly-named pages spent the morning getting to know each other and the elected officials they will assist during the session.
The breakfast afforded the pages the opportunity to ask questions and exchange contact information. The pages' parents, as well as school and elected officials, were invited to the breakfast, hosted by the Patterson Mill's Foods and Hospitality Management students.
Keynote speaker Kimala Vienneau Humphreys, a mathematics teacher at C. Milton Wright High School who was a student page in 1987, shared her insight about serving in Annapolis and told the pages they would treasure this experience as they go on to college.
Harford Del. Teresa Reilly also addressed the pages, stressing how unique the experience will be as they witness elected officials from different experiences and areas all working together for the greater good.
"We are looking forward to working with each of you," Reilly told them.
In addition to Reilly, the other legislators attending were Dels. Susan McComas, Mary Ann Lisanti and Kathy Szeliga.
Harford County Vice President Joseph Voskuhl and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Susan Brown brought greetings from the school system.
Brown commended the pages for having been selected following the intense application process that "would be daunting to even an adult."
Sophia Ames, 17, is a student in the International Baccalaureate Program. She is president of the National French Honor Society and a member of the National Honor Society and the Student Government Association. She is an active horseback rider in the Penn Morgan Horse Club. Ames hopes to attend UMass Amherst.
Will Bolton, 18, is a three-year varsity lacrosse player, football player and swimmer. He is also the "Perspectives" editor for his school newspaper. Bolton hopes to attend Washington and Lee or Saint Mary's College of Maryland.
Emily Godwin, 17, takes advanced placement classes and plays in the C. Milton Wright High School Band and on the school's soccer and cross country teams. She is also a member of the mock trial team. Godwin plans to attend University of Maryland Baltimore County to major in computer science.
Carolyn Hickman, 17, is a member of the National Honor Society and the German National Honor Society and is vice president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She serves on the Senior Class Council, is a senior mentor and plays varsity volleyball. Hickman will study public policy in college.
Madelyn Miller, 17, is a student in the International Baccalaureate Program and is treasurer of the French Honor Society, a member of the National Honor Society, captain of the women's varsity swim team, editor of the Aries yearbook and is a commended National Honor Scholar. She hopes to attend either University of Pennsylvania or University of Maryland.
Kishan Patel, 17, is a three-sport varsity athlete (football and indoor and outdoor track); Student Government President; online editor-in-chief of John Carroll's national award-winning newspaper, The Patriot; president of the school's Spirit Club, SADD and FBLA clubs; captain of the Patriot Hospitality Group; and is a certified peer counselor and co-founder of Peer Counseling Group. In addition, Patel is the youngest member serving on the Isso (Temple Board) for MDDC Branch and is the NNDYM Leader at Temple in Reisterstown, MD. He hopes to attend Villanova University Dental Affiliate of University of Pennsylvania Dental School or Case Western Reserve University Dental Program.
The pages will serve during legislative session which ends in mid-April. They will spend two, non-consecutive weeks with host families in Annapolis while serving in either the Hose of Delegates or the Maryland Senate. The pages are paid a stipend to cover their living expenses.
The statewide Student Page Program in Annapolis has been ongoing for about 35 years. Every high school in Harford County is urged to participate in the program, and each school has an equal chance of having its candidates score in the top five to become a page in Annapolis.