Written by Denise Nash Friday, 22 January 2010 00:00Matthew Weiss, a junior at Jericho High School, was recently selected to serve as a page in the United States House of Representatives. Working as a team, pages assist members of the House of Representatives with their legislative duties, deliver correspondence and small packages within the congressional complex, answer phones in the Member cloakrooms and prepare the House Floor for sessions.
Weiss was nominated by Congressman Gary Ackerman for the position and then underwent a very grueling application process.
Those selected to be a page must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in core academic subjects and also had to submit three letters of recommendation, two personal essays and what the candidate will offer to the Page Program as well as a nomination from a member of congress.
“Matt is a bright, responsible and highly motivated student whose outstanding talents and abilities make him extremely worthy of this great opportunity,” said Congressman Ackerman. “From a great pool of applicants, Matt really shined. He has an exceptional interest in history and politics and has attained many personal achievements such as academic success and athletic accomplishments. He has also served his community by volunteering for local organizations and participating in extra-curricular activities. I am confident that he will be a tremendous asset to the House Page program and I know it will be a rewarding experience for him. I am pleased to have him join me in Washington.”
Weiss decided to pursue the position as a page as he has always enjoyed politics and history. “As a member of Jericho High School’s Model Congress club, I have written mock bills and argued for them to pass in a congressional-like environment,” said Weiss. “This process sparked a larger interest in how our government works and operates. In addition, I enjoy giving back to my community. When given the opportunity to become a congressional page, I believed the opportunity and experiences I will encounter would be priceless.”
While serving the House, pages live in Washington D.C., at the Page Residence Hall, a few blocks away from the Capitol. During the academic year, pages attend classes at the House Page School. The program runs from Jan. 24 through June 4. Although Weiss is excited to attend the program and experience government so closely, he is also nervous about going to an unfamiliar environment. “I am excited, though, to come across new people from all over the country,” he said.
Weiss hopes this program is the springboard for a career in politics.
“Politics has always piqued my interest,” said Weiss. “Ever since becoming vice president of Cantiague Elementary School in fifth grade, I knew politics was in my blood. I continued to be a leader in my High School Student Council, becoming vice president of my freshman and sophomore classes. In addition, I am co-president of On the Rebound, a not-for-profit organization that donates new and gently used sporting equipment to underprivileged children. Since I enjoy helping my community, being a part of politics will allow me to serve and help my community in the strongest way possible. Through the House of Representatives Page Program I hope to expand my knowledge in politics so that I will one day become a strong political leader.”