When Hannah Fordyce was in seventh grade she had the opportunity to travel to the capitol in Des Moines to spend a day with the legislators with other 4-H'ers. The young people were treated to a presentation by high school'ers who had been fortunate enough to be selected for the legislative page program. She remembers turning to her friend and whispering, "I want to do that!"
Now five years later, Hannah is on her way! She was one of only 14 high school students in the state to be selected to serve as a page in the Senate. The legislative session begins Jan. 12.
Each year the Iowa House of Representatives, Iowa Senate and Legislative Services Agency (LSA) employ ambitious high school juniors and seniors of high academic standing to serve as Pages for the legislative session. The pages work the entire legislative session which could last until May. There are 25 House pages and two LSA pages.
Hannah filled out an application and provided reference letters. She was called in November to come for an interview with the House and the Senate. Given the choice, she chose to serve in the Senate and went through an orientation in December.
The Alta High School senior will spend Monday through Thursday at the capitol and will be in school on Fridays completing her course work. She admitted that she has anticipated this opportunity so has planned her high school school schedule carefully along with her school counselor to get most of her class requirements completed.
Hannah is so excited about the opportunities!
In addition, serving as a page in a professional working environment will contribute to the participant's confidence and self esteem. Because pages learn to accept a large degree of personal responsibility for their work, the page experience helps prepare them for the future demands of their academic and professional careers. They will learn to respond to organizational priorities and directives and to uphold the standards of confidentiality and professional service.
Pages also develop meaningful friendships with others and a sense of belonging to a time-honored tradition of public service. They meet and relate to a large group of people from around the state and begin learning how to make good personal decisions as they manage their finances, transportation, work demands, housing, and new friendships.
Hannah and the other pages are responsible for finding their own housing and providing their own transportation; giving them all a head start on the independence that will come after high school graduation. Hannah will be living with a family in Des Moines along with two other pages.
Pages report to work each morning at 8 and remain until 4:30 p.m. or until the Legislature adjourns. They receive $8.57 an hour for a minimum of 40 hours per week and all pages wear a uniform provided to them by the agency they are employed with, while on duty.
The duties of the Senate pages will vary. On a rotating basis, pages are assigned to chamber benches for general assignments, and to the bill room, journal office, sergeant-at-arms desk, and Senate telephone switchboard. General-duty pages respond to requests from Senators and staff at their desks in the chamber, assist Senators and staff in committee meetings, and sometimes assist with the handling of Senate materials and supplies. Page scheduling and work assignments are supervised directly by the sergeant-at-arms.
Hannah has always had an interest in politics and the government. She hopes to eventually attend law school. She is a member of the State 4-H Council and may be asked to give a presentation to young visiting 4-H'ers about the page program. Who knows, maybe her talk will spark some interest in the page program in one of those 4-H'ers as it was sparked in her.
Hannah is the daughter of Matt Fordyce and Gretchen Miller.