NSA student selected as a Senate page

Published 9:33 am Friday, January 20, 2012


RICHMOND—For the next two months, a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy eighth-grader will make his mark on Virginia’s capital while serving as a page for the state Senate.

Ian Turner is among 34 students in the state selected for the page program.

Last Sunday, Turner and the other pages arrived in Richmond and will stay in the city during the workweek through March 10.

After applying for the program in September, Turner found out about his selection last month.

“I was very happy to say the least,” he said.

Turner applied to the program after his father told him about co-workers who had children who attended.

“They said the program was fantastic, that it really taught you about responsibility,” he said. “They said you gain all sorts of great traits.”

To apply, Turner had to write an essay about why he should be selected as a page, fill out an application that covered his academic resume and send in three letters of recommendation.

For the past week, the pages have been getting adjusted to their new surroundings and learning about their duties, which include running errands for the senators and clerk’s office staff, collating and filing bills and assisting with staff meetings.

“It has been up and down with us learning the ropes,” he said.

Turner said experiencing state government firsthand has been quite a learning experience.

“I didn’t expect it to be as hectic,” he said. “But it’s a really great learning experience to see all the things going around me.”

While they are in Richmond, the pages are still expected to keep up with schoolwork, so at the beginning of the week, Turner and the other pages receive packets of work from their teachers at home.

For two hours Monday through Thursday, the pages have study hall to get their work done.

Turner said teachers are very diligent in offering different resources to help the students.

“For most of the kids, myself included, the teachers send videos through things like YouTube in order to get as close as we can to a classroom environment,” he said.

While he has never been away from home for this long, Turner said he isn’t worried about getting homesick because he comes back on weekends.

However, he said, he does miss his school and his friends there a little bit, but he hopes to form new friendships through the program.

“It gave me the chance to meet people I normally would never meet,” he said. “It’s not often I go to Northern Virginia and talk to someone, or meet someone from closer to the West Virginia border.”