From Harford County Public Schools:
Six high school seniors were recently selected to serve as student pages for the 2018 Maryland General Assembly, including Lindsay Cullum and Jacob Wright of C. Milton Wright High School; Gabrielle Shlikas and Alison Smith of Edgewood High School; Drew Forthman of The John Carroll School; and Jennifer Little of Patterson Mill High School.
Pages were hand-selected following a grueling application process that included a written test and an extensive oral interview before a 12-person committee, consisting of peers and educators from around the county, who tested 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 due to illness.
“As a political science teacher, I am passionate about the Student Page Program,” said Michael Brogley, coordinator of the student page program in Harford County and C. Milton Wright High School social studies teacher. “I tell my students that regardless of what political party they affiliate with, they have the ability to make the changes they want to see in their communities. Public service is the element that binds us all together.”
A Student Page Breakfast was held December 6 at Patterson Mill High School, and the newly named 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 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 Natalie Hutcheson, 2014 C. Milton Wright High School graduate and former student page, shared her insight about the experience with the pages.
“Paging gave me my fondest memories of high school. This will be one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences you’ll ever have,” said Miss Hutcheson. “You’ve learned the text book version of what goes on, but now you’ll get to see first-hand what really happens behind the scenes.”
Several elected officials were in attendance at the breakfast event, including Senators Wayne Norman and J.B. Jennings and Delegates Andrew Cassilly, Susan McComas, Glen Glass, and Teresa Reilly.
Board of Education of Harford County President Joseph Voskuhl and Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Susan Brown brought greetings from the school system. Mr. Voskuhl said the pages should be congratulated for the effort they put in, noting that very few students get this opportunity, and it will be one they won’t forget.
Miss Lindsay Cullum, 17, is a member of the Senior Class Council, the School Environmental Awareness Club, the National Honor Society, the French National Honor Society, the Math National Honor Society, and the Harford County Speech and Debate League. She is also a senior mentor to freshman students. Miss Cullum works part time at Savona in downtown Bel Air, as well as her father’s practice, Creswell Veterinary Clinic. She has volunteered with the Harford County arm of the Hillary for America Campaign and the Harford County Climate Action non-profit organization. In the fall, she hopes to attend school in Boston, Massachusetts, or University of Maryland College Park. Her intended major is political science, and she would additionally like to study international relations and environmental studies.
Mr. Jacob Wright, 17, is captain of the Swim Team and President of the Math National Honor Society. He is also a member of the Student Government Association, the National Honor Society, the Cross Country Team, and the Track and Field Team. In addition, he volunteers at Upper Chesapeake Hospital and Meals on Wheels, and he has a part-time job at Campus Liquors. Mr. Wright hopes to attend Northwestern University in the fall to major in mathematics and science.
Miss Gabrielle Shlikas, 17, attends the International Baccalaureate Program at Edgewood High School. She is president of the Social Studies Honor Society, the Math Honor Society, and the Mock Trial Club, and is a member of the Student Government Association, the National Honor Society, the Academic Team, and the Social Committee. Miss Shlikas has taken eight years of dance class, is active with the Maryland Youth Advisory Council, and works part-time at Klein’s ShopRite. In the fall, she plans to attend Wellesley College to major in political science.
Miss Alison Smith, 17, is president of the Mock Trial Club and the Feminist Club and is a member of the Student Government, the Math Honor Society, the History Honor Society and the Varsity Girls Soccer Team. She is a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Black Youth in Action Debutante program, and the First Ladies of Edgewood. She is founder and chair of Harford’s HELPERS and serves on a Student Advisory Council. In addition, she volunteers at Upper Chesapeake Hospital’s Hospice Care Center and is a certified lifeguard. Miss Smith is undecided about where she will attend school in the fall, but plans to major in rural development.
Mr. Drew Forthman, 17, is president of the Future Business Leaders of America and captain of the Academic Team. He is a member of the National Honor Society, National German Honor Society, and the Speech and Debate Team. He enjoys singing classically, as well as jazz and country music, and is an avid history and philosophy fan. In addition, Mr. Forthman is a member of the Student Service Leadership group at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. In the fall, he plans to attend Saint Vincent College to study international business.
Miss Jennifer Little, 17, is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, the Music Honor Society, the Drama Company, the Senior Class Council, The Harford County Teen Court, the Mock Trial Club, and the Patterson Mill High School Band. Miss Little is a Teen Reporter for ABC 2 News, a blogger for UNICEF, and has been published in the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun. She is a server at Brightview Assisted Living and is a volunteer at a summer camp in west Baltimore. In the fall, she plans to attend college to major in international relations and Spanish.
The pages will serve in the 2018 legislative session that will begin in early January and continue 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. The pages are paid a stipend to cover their living expenses.
The statewide Student Page Program in Annapolis has been ongoing for more than 40 years. Every high school in the county is urged to participate in the program, and each school has an equal chance of having its candidate(s) score in the top five to become a page in Annapolis.