by Alexa Massau
Imagine starting a new job, with all the nervousness and excitement that brings. Add in the fact you’re working for the governor during election week and you have an idea of Weddington student Amanda Healy’s time as a page.
The Governor’s Page program consists of a weeklong stay in the capital working in government offices, delivering mail, filing paperwork, making phone calls and taking tours of the Raleigh’s landmarks.
The Weddington High School sophomore was one of 12 high school students from across the state who participated in the program the first week in November.
She visited Raleigh this summer with her parents while on vacation, but during her latest visit, the city was noticeably buzzing, Healy said.
“More people were rushing around,” she explained. “There were definitely more people walking around in nice suits.”
Healy saw many age groups intermingling, from school children on field trips to 60-year-old men.
Healy and the other pages toured the N.C. Museum of History, Museum of Natural Sciences and the Governor’s Mansion, which Healy like most. “It was great,” she said. “We got to go into the places that tours are usually prohibited, like the kitchen. Everything in there is antique. I liked that.”
The state pays each page $150 for his or her week of work, which offsets some of the expense of staying in the city. Pages are responsible for finding a place to live that week, with options ranging from staying at a hotel to rooming with a host family. Amanda and her father stayed at a hotel outside of the city all week.
Overall, Amanda was glad for the experience of working in an office and gaining a better understanding of how the government works. Though the pages never got to meet Gov. Bev Perdue, they talked with the Perdue’s secretary.
Amanda’s father, Jeff Healy, went with her to the capital. “The government exposure was great for Amanda,” Jeff Healy said. “This was a positive experience, and it shows her there are many avenues that she can go down with a good education.”
She loves math and already has plans to study engineering at North Carolina State University.
To qualify for the Page Program, students must have good grades and permission from their school to participate, if their internship comes during the academic year. The week counts as an excused absence from the classroom, so the pages only have to worry about making up any work missed during that time. State officials consider the applications on a first-come-first-served basis. There’s more information about the Governor’s Page Program online at http://www.volunteernc.org/programs/pageProgram.aspx.