What do Pages gain from the Minnesota House High School Page Program?

The Minnesota House of
Representatives debated a bill near the end of the 2013
legislative session that would allow a minor to call 911 to report a medical emergency without the risk of being ticketed for
underage consumption. “We care more about their life
and their health than we do about any punishment that
they might incur for that drinking.” “There is in a sense, a get-out-of-jail
card if things go bad at a party. I think that amnesty is the wrong way to
send a message abstinence until the law says you can.” Participants in the Minnesota House of
Representatives High School Page Program also tackled the issue
during a mock debate. “It was interesting to do research
on the topic. The mock debates, a key feature, of the high school page
program, require pages to think critically like representatives. “Minors who
have been drinking are really scared to call in, cuz they think that they will be penalized.” “Shouldn’t , uh, our resources therefore be further allocated to preventing the problem in the first place.”
“During mock debates, not only do pages consider issues that
representatives face, they are also sit at the table in real committee rooms, just as house
members do.” “Committee background noise.” “Committee background noise.” “It was cool because we got to debate in a
professional aspect. We had a real committee room. It was just fun because it was professional. Mock debates are just one example of hands-on legislative activities
that give pages a feel for what it’s like to be a representative. In this Guide to the Minnesota House
High School Page Program, we examine what Minnesota
students come away with after their week-long experience
at the Capitol has come to a close. ‘Committee background noise.: “Committee background noise.” One could argue the closet experience you gt to being an actual representatove
as as a high school junior is the Minnesota House
High School Page Program. “It gives them a first-hand experience being
on the house floor seeing how laws are passed and also being and committees.” Through actively engaging in the
process, pages gain a deeper understanding
for how the legislature works. The experience may also help
students get even more involved in government. High school page Angie
Thomas considers the experience to be a springboard. “If I
ever wanted to work here be like yeah I was in high school page
program/” Students don’t have to want to become public servants to take part though. The week-long page program is
really designed for any high school junior in Minnesota who may just be curious
about how state government functions. But, if a page is considering government
work, they may be following in the footsteps of some notable public
servants including Speaker Thissen.
“Floor background noise.” “Floor background noise.” “I really loved the week. I thought it was
great and fascinating and, um, learned a lot and just kind of the
energy and excitement of what’s going on over here. So, I,
I’m sure it had had an influence on kind of the direction, you know I took after
that. Speaker Paul Thissen was a high school page in the eighties. He continues
to support the program and the access to the legislature that
pages recieve. “Seems like the program’s getting, you know, better and better too, more, ah,
getting exposed to more things. I don’t think we did for instance the, you
know, the mock committee hearings and that kind of stuff so, um, no I think it’s a great
learning experience.” A practical and life-like feel for state government
is something pages gain from the program. It may even inspire some to
consider state government work as a professional calling. But, whether or
not a page becomes the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, or other public servant, the page program will leave a lasting impression.

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