Layne Donovan’s junior year of high school is sure to be an unforgettable one.
She’ll miss homecoming, competing on the high school swim team, and writing for her high school newspaper.
Instead, the Wauwatosa East High School student will spend the first half of her junior year working on the Senate floor in Washington D.C. as a U.S. Senate Page.
The Senate Page Program, arguably one of the most competitive high school programs in the country, connects students to some of the Nation’s most prominent leaders in the form of a paid high school internship in the Senate.
“This program is so unique because it gives its participants a first-hand look into the most complex and interesting legislative body on earth,” said Donovan. “I am excited to work on the Senate floor every day. Seeing senators debate, vote, and conduct daily business is an amazing opportunity.”
The primary task of a Senate Page is to deliver communication and legislative material within the Congressional Complex. Their work may also include “taking messages for Members, calling them on the phone, preparing the Chamber for Senate sessions and carrying bills to the desk.”
It’s work that Donovan hopes will give her a better understanding of how our federal government operates.
“I've long held an interest for government, history and public policy. It is something that I feel quite passionately about.”
The idea of pursuing the page opportunity began two years ago when Donovan and her father had a conversation about her interests. Though immediately intrigued, Donovan had to patiently wait for her junior year to roll around before she would be eligible.
The program is available only to high school juniors with a minimum 3.0-grade point average, and students must apply for sponsorship by a senator.
In May, Donovan applied for sponsorship through Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s office. In June, they invited her to interview and two months later, she received a personal call from the senator. She was in.
“I was extremely excited to get the news. I called both my parents right after hanging up,” said Donovan. “I have long wanted to be a part of the Senate Page Program so hearing that I would actually get that opportunity was truly amazing.”
“I was pleased to support Layne’s pursuit of this opportunity,” said Senator Baldwin. “This will be an exciting experience for her, and I am confident she will represent Wauwatosa and Wisconsin well.”
Only 30 students are selected for each page of the four page sessions a year and only half are girls.
Donovan’s appointment will run from the beginning of September through January. During this time, she will live on Capitol Hill in a residence specifically for pages. Prior to working on the Senate floor each day, she’ll spend the morning hours attending classes through the rigorous and accredited Senate Page School.
“This is a first in my 17 years at East that I recall a student selected for this program. What a tremendous accomplishment," said Principal Nick Hughes. "Layne is a remarkable student and we are thrilled for her opportunity and the positive impact her learning experience will have on our student body."
As for her peers, Layne encourages them to pursue opportunities to gain new experiences and perspectives about topics they are interested in.
For more information about the Senate Page Program, click HERE.