One All Saints senior experienced national politics first-hand as a page for the United States Senate this summer.
Ava Moran spent July in Washington D.C. as a page for the U.S. Senate appointed by Texas senator John Cornyn. She was one of 30 Senate pages nationwide in the summer program.
“Day to day I would sit in the rostrum, which is the side step where the presiding officer would sit, and I would just wait for a call on the phone,” Moran said. “They would tell us to either fill up the Senator’s water or set up a podium for a Senator or carry an easel for the Senator or running bills, making copies to different offices all over Capitol Hill.”
Senate page duties consist primarily of delivery of correspondence and legislative material within the Congressional complex. Other duties include preparing the chamber for Senate sessions, and carrying bills and amendments to the desk. Pages attend classes in the early morning at the United States Senate Page School, a program fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
“I’ve always been really interested in politics,” Moran said. “I do mock trials and debate in school so I am really involved. I want to be involved in politics outside of my school so I thought this would be a great opportunity to see it first-hand.”
On Moran’s final day as a Senate page, she experienced something she said she’ll never forget. She held in her hands the long debated legislation, she delivered the bill with the results of the Senate’s vote on the Skinny Bill, a bill Republicans hoped would pass to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“It was really amazing to be able to hold it in my hands,” Moran said, “especially after the dramatic vote from Senator John McCain. Holding it in my hands, making the copies, was almost surreal. Most kids are making copies at offices like myself, but I doubt anybody was holding something as important. It was really cool for me to be able to hold it and deliver it to all the offices and just see the shock on people’s faces when they heard what really happened.”
Moran lived in the Daniel Webster Senate Page residence, which is a residence designated and secured for all U.S. Senate Pages. This facility is a former funeral home and was reconfigured in order to provide Pages with a home away from home during their time in Washington. Administration and staff include the Page Program Director, Administrative Assistant, four resident Proctors, and one non-resident Proctor.
Her daily dress was the required uniform for the job, which consists of a navy blue suit, a white, long sleeve, traditional dress shirt, a name badge, Page insignia lapel pin, and a plain, navy tie (males only).
In order to become a U.S. Senate Page, one must first be nominated by a Senator, generally from his or her State. A candidate must be a 16- or 17-year-old high school junior (11th grade), with at least a 3.0 GPA. Summer pages can be rising juniors or rising seniors and must have a GPA requirement of a 3.0 or higher. Processes for selection vary by state and senator. Typically, a senator’s office will require the applicant submit a transcript, resume, and various essays. The process is similar to that of selecting an office employee, and may include interview of final applicants by a board of review. Students can apply for appointment to one of four terms: a Fall semester (September–January), a Spring semester (January–June), a three- or four-week June session, and a three- or four-week July session. During the school year, there are 30 Pages. The majority appoints 16, while the minority appoints 14.
Moran is back in Lubbock and ready to begin her senior year at All Saints. She is interested in studying political science in college and said “her experience in Washington has prepared her for a future in politics.”