The Warrior

Adam Pfeifer takes on semester in Senate

By Nick Udell, Reporter

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Adam Pfeifer, Div. 973, said that he found out about the U.S. Senate’s page program as a freshman because of an AP Human Geography assignment. He was not satisfied with the results of a career interest survey, so he looked elsewhere on the internet for government youth outreach initiatives.

According to the Senate, pages act as messengers on Capitol Hill. They deliver correspondence and legislative material, prepare the chamber for Senate sessions and carry bills and amendments to the desk.

The first Senate page was a nine-year-old boy named Grafton Hanson who was appointed by Senator Daniel Webster in 1829. Due to changes in the program, all current senate pages are required to be high school juniors and 16 or 17 years of age.

Pfeifer is currently serving as a page and is sponsored by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.. He left for Washington on Jan. 26 and will live there until mid June.

For Pfeifer, the application process started with a short essay and questionnaire that are available on Duckworth’s website. He was then selected as one of five finalists for the position and went to the federal building in downtown for an in-person interview.

The page program is highly selective, according to Duckworth’s website. Applicants to the page program are required to have a GPA of at least 3.0, but often far exceed that number.

Pfeifer said he hopes to use his appointment as a page to get his feet wet in American government before pursuing politics as a career, an interest that was noted by many of his teachers.

“He came in early every single day, and we would talk about what we’d seen on the news the night before, or that morning regarding politics,”  Pfeifer’s AP U.S. Government teacher, Ms. Shannon said.“I think it’s going to be an invaluable experience in any career he pursues, but particularly if he goes into law or government.”

In addition to his interest in politics, Pfeifer’s freshman English teacher Ms. Cramarosso said that his interpersonal skills will be of tremendous help during his time in Washington.

“[Adam] is so friendly,” Cramarosso said. “[It’s] those kinds of things that I think can put you over the edge for something like this; keeping contacts, networking and being a friendly, kind person.”

While Pfeifer will be living in Washington for the rest of second semester, being a page is far from a vacation. All pages attend the U.S. Senate Page School, where they take core classes so as to not fall behind on acquiring the credits necessary for graduation.

According to Pfeifer, he will start school at 6:15 a.m., attend class until 10:00 a.m., and then go to work in the Senate. The pages then work until 4:00, or until the senate is adjourned for the day, whichever is later.

“For some classes I’m taking my finals,” Pfeifer said. “For some classes my teachers are a little more lenient about it. For the most part, they’re very supportive of it; they just wanted to make sure I wasn’t ‘checking out.’”

Pages serve during one of four terms over the course of a year: semester long terms in the fall and spring, shorter terms over the summer. Senators with page appointments rotate by term, with 30 senators at a time hosting pages.

Alumni of the program include former Vice President Spiro Agnew and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

“First and foremost I hope to walk away with a better understanding of how our government works and an appreciation for it,” Pfeifer said. “That’s really the main part, the opportunity to see one of the most powerful legislative bodies on the planet is pretty exciting.”

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Adam Pfeifer takes on semester in Senate