House Page Program Terminated

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a joint decision to end the House Page Program, a nearly 200-year-old tradition. This unique program gives high school students the chance to work directly with Congressmen on the House Floor, serving as messengers and couriers. This decision was made after an independent review by Strategic Assets Consulting and Fieldstone Consulting, Inc. decided that the duties Pages perform are no longer necessary due to advances in technology.

Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi’s statement read: “This decision was not easy, but it is necessary due to the prohibitive cost of the program and advances in technology that have rendered most Page-provided services no longer essential to the smooth functioning of the House.”

While the program does cost $5 million a year, that is a small price to pay for its value. I, a member of the House Page Class of 2008, can attest to this. How many juniors in high school can say that they helped orchestrate a State of the Union Address, ate meatball sandwiches in the Republican Cloakroom with Speaker Boehner, raised the American flag atop the Capitol building, or met with President Obama? These are the once in a lifetime experiences that House Pages are rewarded. Not only do these opportunities teach Pages responsibility, tolerence of all political affiliations, and how exactly our government functions, but it also inspires a deep-rooted patriotism. Pages have gone on to work in the State Department, and serve as Members of Congress themselves. This program created future leaders – technology cannot replace that. 

The Page Program made me who I am today. I can honestly say that I am not sure I would be at Dartmouth if it hadn’t been for this program. I am heartbroken knowing that Pages who would have served their country this year, and in years to come, have been robbed of this truly life changing experience.

–Elizabeth Reynolds