Like most graduating seniors, Heaven Randolph, Pettisville, will prepare to move away from home.
But it won’t be her first time. From September 2006 through June 2007, she lived, worked, and studied in Washington, D.C., as a congressional page for congressman Paul Gillmor.
What was it like?
“It was exciting. I never really thought I’d like living in the city, but I really loved it.”
As a congressional page, Randolph joined 62 other high school juniors. The students lived in a dorm and attended school every morning in classrooms on top of the Library of Congress.
“School started at 6:45 a.m. and ended one hour before congressional sessions were scheduled to begin- usually around 11 a.m.,” Randolph said.
Being a page is a paid job, and duties include answering phones, helping with general office work, making deliveries, and running errands.
Randolph applied for the job after learning about it in government class at Pettisville.
“Mr. Bracken (PHS government teacher) talked about it in class, and then I researched it a bit and decided to apply,” Randolph said. “I only had about a week before the application deadline.”
What did she learn from her year in Washington?
“I learned that politics is not really what I want to go into,” she said.
“I applied because I wanted to explore politics as a possibility, but I decided I’m more interested in medicine.”
Randolph will major in biol- ogy at Capital University next year, and maybe go on to medical school.
But there are things she learned from her experience as a page.
“I learned to take things one step at time, and concentrate on what’s going on now,” she said.
“It also made the process of choosing a college and moving away less scary.”
Her favorite memories from being a page are simple ones.
“I liked sitting in the House cloakroom and listening to the congressmen talk. They talked about their families and interests, and you realized they were real people, not much different from anyone else.”
Randolph saw the president, but did not meet him. She did meet Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House.
Randolph returned to Pettisville with a new appreciation of the great academic program the school offers.
“I was very well prepared for my classes” in Washington, she said. “I had three years of Spanish at Pettisville, and I was able to take Advanced Spanish my junior year. Some of the other pages had studied Spanish for six years, but struggled with Intermediate Spanish.”
She also appreciated the work that Michael Lane, Pettisville principal, and Dave Ripke, Pettisville guidance counselor, did to make sure that her classes matched up with requirements so she could graduate on time.
“Some of the pages got no credit for any classes they took during the year,” she said. “They were going to have to repeat the year or take summer classes to help make up for classes they needed to graduate.”
Randolph would recommend the experience to other area high school students. In fact, her sister Hailey, a sophomore at Pettisville, may also apply for the page position.
“It was a great experience,” she said.
“I would recommend it highly.”