From Harford County Public Schools:
Six high school seniors were recently selected to serve as student pages for the 2011 Maryland General Assembly, including Marianna Fleischman and Zachary Hutcheson of C. Milton Wright High School, Samantha Harris and Rea Peck of Joppatowne High School, and Sara Stifler and Ryan Eilerman of The John Carroll School.
Pages were selected after submitting an application and participating in an extensive interview before a 12-person committee, consisting of students and educators from around the county, who tested the applicants on their knowledge of politics and other various topics. The committee was not informed of which school the applicant attends prior to the decision.
A Student Page Breakfast was held December 2, 2010, at Aberdeen High School, and the newly-elected pages spent the morning getting to know each other and the elected officials they will assist during the session. They were afforded the opportunity to ask questions as well.
Mr. Jason Waskey, administrative assistant under President Obama, a student page himself in 2000, took a moment to share some of his memories about the experience with the pages. As the keynote speaker, Mr. Waskey also offered bits of advice to the pages.
“You are fortunate to serve the great state of Maryland,” said Mr. Waskey. “You will gain valuable insight and experience for your future. Have a good time in Annapolis, and make Harford County proud.”
Delegate J.B. Jennings, a representative for the Harford Delegation, also addressed the group which consisted of the pages and their parents, as well as school and elected officials. He welcomed those in attendance and assured the pages, “We are your friends, if you have any questions or concerns, we are there for you.”
In addition to Del. J.B. Jennings, other elected officials in attendance were Delegates Susan McComas, Donna Stifler and Kathy Szeliga. Senator Barry Glassman was also on-hand.
J. Patrick Whitehurst, 19-year coordinator of the student page program in Harford County and Fallston High government teacher, also spoke, detailing the competitive selection process pages endured and announcing, “You are wonderful representatives of everything that is bright about Harford County Public Schools and The John Carroll School.”
Ms. Marianna Fleishman, 17, is the daughter of Cindi and Joe Fleishman of Bel Air. She is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS), Student Government Association, Senior Class Council, Chamber Orchestra, A Cappella Choir, Destination Imagination, Drama Club and Cross Country team. In addition, Ms. Fleishman is founder and chair of the NHS-sponsored Bel Air chapter of Becca’s Closet, an organization that provides formal gowns, shoes and purses to high school girls who may not otherwise be able to afford to attend their prom or homecoming dances. Ms. Fleishman’s first-choice school for college in the fall is Cornell University, where she plans to major in engineering.
Mr. Zachary Hutcheson, 17, is the son of Stephanie and Douglas Hutcheson of Bel Air. Mr. Hutcheson is vice president of the Senior Class Council and a member of the Student Government Association; National Honor Society; Spanish National Honor Society; Spanish Club; Academic Team; Marching, Concert and Pep bands; Cross Country team; and Indoor Track team. He is an Eagle Scout and is also involved in Young Life through Mountain Christian Church. Mr. Hutcheson is not yet sure which college he will attend in the fall; however, he plans to major in Aerospace Engineering.
Ms. Samantha Harris, 17, is the daughter of Jill Singleton and Donald Harris of Havre de Grace. Ms. Harris is president of the National Honor Society, a member of the Leo Club, captain of the volleyball team and a tuba player in the Marching Band and Concert Band. In addition, she volunteers at Bright View Assistant Living in Bel Air and assists with events organized by Water Witch Fire Company in Cecil County. Ms. Harris intends to dual major in political science and business in college. She is not yet sure where she will be attending in the fall.
Ms. Rea Peck, 16, is the daughter of Faith and James Peck of Edgewood. Ms. Peck is president of the Leo Club and a member of the Orchestra and Book Club. She is an active volunteer for animal rights organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and for the local music scene. Ms. Peck plans to attend community college in Virginia and transfer to George Mason Univeristy. She will dual major in education and law, political science, history or music.
Ms. Sara Stifler, 17, is the daughter of Donna and Tom Stifler of Forest Hill. Ms. Stifler is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Varsity Cross Country team and Outdoor Track team. In addition, she is active in her church student ministries and volunteers for LASOS, a non-profit organization that reaches out to the local Latin American community, where she teaches a six-week adult math class in Spanish and also tutors and provides childcare services. Ms. Stifler has applied to the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech with intentions to major in business with a minor in Spanish or political science.
Mr. Ryan Eilerman, 17, of Joppa, attended Boy’s State last summer and plans to start a political club at his school. In the fall, he plans to attend the Naval Academy and major in political science.
The pages will serve in the 2011 legislative session that begins in 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. They will perform various tasks such as filing books, running errands and sitting in on meetings and hearings. Although they will be absent from school for a total of two weeks, pages
are still expected to make-up any work they miss while attending the session.