Photo used with permission of Abbie Schwanke.
2020 is a presidential election year. With caucuses and primaries popping up, more kids are getting politically involved. However, while many people focus on national politics, the world of local and state politics exists as well – and some FHS students got the chance to explore it by paging for the Indiana House.
Seniors Abbie Schwanke and Jackson Bell both spent a day paging at the Indiana House, which consisted of a tour and running notes to senators. While the program runs until March, all paging slots have been filled for the 2020 Page for a Day Program. However, both the Democrat and Republican parties are encouraging students to look out for the December sign up, and Schwanke and Bell are both advocating for the program.
“The coolest part of the experience was meeting all of the senators and seeing how genuine and authentic they were,” Schwanke said. “All of them were excited to meet us and the senators were explaining the legislative process as they went through with it.”
Though she was excited once she settled in, the real nerves came before she arrived.
“I was pretty nervous beforehand because I had to drive downtown during rush hour,” Schwanke said. “There was a lot of traffic and the directions were not super clear.”
Bell did not feel an ounce of anxiety all day. His prior experiences helped him adjust to paging.
“I’m in similar environments all the time for other events and clubs like Model UN and Mock Trial,” Bell said. “I was just interested in what paging was about.”
Perhaps the most interesting people Bell met all day, though, were not the politicians themselves.
“The coolest part of the page program was talking to the interns that ran it,” Bell said. They were very glad to see someone their age who was actually interested in the same things. We talked about politics and we talked about college.”
In terms of odd or out-of-the-blue experiences, Schwanke remembers a particular moment that caught her interest.
“There was a protestor in the State House who was advocating for the decrimination of marijuana and causing a disruption,” Schwanke said. “He was eventually removed from the building.”