Smith takes on D.C.

Published 5:32 am Monday, July 16, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Escambia County High School student Tray Smith received the honor of his life when attending Junior Statesmen Summer School at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
While the Junior Statesmen Summer School students were visiting with Congressman Jo Bonner, the Congressman himself told Smith that he was chosen to page for the United States House of Representatives.
"I am going to be a page in the United States House of Representatives from September until January," Smith said. "I found out while at Georgetown summer school. All the kids visited Congressman Bonner and while we were visiting with him I found out that I was accepted. Congressman Bonner told me himself."
Smith said a House page is there to assist the Congressmen in any way possible.
"A house page is an assistant to the Congressmen," he said. "I'll deliver messages, make copies and run errands for any Congressman who needs me to. I will spend my day working on the House floor."
Smith was hand-selected by Bonner for this position and he is one of only 66 juniors in high school in the entire nation to have the opportunity this fall.
"To be a page, you have to apply through the Congressman's office," Smith said. "Each Congressman can select a page per term to sponsor. After a Congressman sponsors you, your name is forwarded to the leader of your Congressman's party in the House. My name went to John Boehner, who reviews all candidates being sponsored by Republican Congressmen and he selects 24 pages. There are 66 House pages total."
Smith will still attend school, although not at ECHS.
"We will go to school at the page school from 6:45 a.m. until the House starts for the day, then we go to work," Smith said. "We will stay in the House page dorm, which is three blocks away from the Capitol."
Although Smith will be away from home, he will be well supervised and will have the opportunity to still live with others while in D.C.
"I could have up to two roommates in the page dorm," he said. "We will have a curfew every night, but on our free time we can explore D.C. as long as we have another page with us."
Smith will come back to Atmore for a visit twice in October, he is allowed two weeks off for Thanksgiving and three weeks off for Christmas, he said.
Smith is excited about his adventure as a House page, not only for the experience in politics but also for the opportunity of making new friends.
"I am looking forward to being a page in the United States House of Representatives," he said. "I believe it will give me the opportunity to meet other people my age who share my political interest in politics and I will also be able to make several important contacts on Capital Hill who may be helpful to me as I pursue my political career."

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