Paging in Olympia: Carlos Barajas-Zamora
In late February I was given the opportunity to go to Olympia alongside the other World fellows and participate in the Senate Page program. This was a program I had previously heard of, but I never thought that I would get the chance to experience it firsthand. It was so amazing to finally see my friends after spending nearly four months apart from them.
I had an overwhelming feeling of joy as I was reunited with them, it felt as though we were back in Spain telling jokes, reminiscing on the time we spent together over the summer. Yet, being in the page senate program was another life changing experience which we went through together. I feel truly delighted to have had a group of close friends to share such an eye-opening experience with.
One thing that really struck me from the time I spent in Olympia was the fact that once the week was over, we would have more knowledge about how the government works than the average American. This fact really shocked me because I believe that in a democracy people must inform themselves and do research on how the government works. Thus, I believe that programs such as the Senate Page program are so important because they establish a system through which young teenagers can have the opportunity opportunity to learn about the legislative system and the government.
Through attending page school, we were able to learn about the legislative system and we even got to write our own bills which we read and debated live on TVW. This moment specifically was very special to me because I got to write a bill about a subject I felt passionate about and was able to bring up logical arguments for it while answering any questions that the other “senators” had on my bill.
One of my favorite memories from participating in the Senate Page program was being down on the senate floor sidelines as the senators partook in the tradition of “roasting” new senators as they gave their first speeches. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as they made silly jokes about each other.
I feel truly thankful to have been given the opportunity to meet senators, house representatives and other people who play a huge role in both state government and national government. I look forward to the many more ventures that the Washington World Fellows and I will have in the following year, and I hope that future WWF classes enjoy being a page in Olympia as much as I did.