By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Brigid Hosmer, a 16-year-old junior at Tilton School, will be spending the next five months as a page in the United States Senate. She's thrilled by the opportunity to learn how the Senate operates.
“I've always been interested in politics because my dad was a state senator. Now I'll have a chance to see the process in action and gain more of an understanding of the how things work,” said Hosmer.
Her mother, Donna Hosmer, told her about the opportunity two years ago, and said her mother was so excited when she called her from New York City last month to tell her that she had just heard from U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's office that she had been accepted, that her mother yelled with excitement.
“I'm really grateful for the opportunity,” said Brigid, who left Sunday for the nation's capital, where she will be living at the Daniel Webster Senate Page Residence.
It was Webster, the New Hampshire-born U.S. senator from Massachusetts, who named the first Senate page, 9-year-old Grafton Hanson, in 1829. Hanson was the grandson of the Senate sergeant at arms.
Today, Senate pages come from all 50 states. Still appointed and sponsored by a senator, they must be high school juniors, at least 16 years old, and attend school.
Their duties consist primarily of delivery of correspondence and legislative material within the Congressional complex. Other duties include preparing the chamber for Senate sessions, and carrying bills and amendments to the desk. Pages attend classes in the early morning at the United States Senate Page School, a program fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
It wasn't until 1971 that the first girls were appointed as pages, ending a nearly 150-year-old tradition of male-only pages.
Hosmer expects to be very busy. She says that her normal day will start with classes at 6:15 a.m. which will run until 10 a.m. She will then spend three to four hours in the Senate, and after that's over she will have four to five hours of homework.
Saturday will involve field trips throughout the Washington area and she expects that Sunday will see he busy with more homework.
Hosmer's looking forward to United States history classes this fall, along with English and language and composition and psychology classes.
“I've always been interested in current events and that's something we talk at home about all the time," she said. "I'm looking forward to being around what's going on politically and getting a close-up look.”
It won't be her first experience living away from home. This summer she spent six weeks in New York City on the campus of New York University, where she took pre-college classes in journalism and attended a college writing workshop.
“I learned a lot about living independently and finding my way around the city. I had classes three days a week and it was a lot of fun,” she said.
She notes that she won't have wi-fi or cellular devices in her dorm area in Washington and will have to rely on land lines when she wants to call home.
And while her three siblings, triplets Andrew, Amelia and Ava, all soon to be 13, will miss her, at least one of her sisters is looking to gain a little space in the home as a result of her five months being away.
“She's taking over my bedroom while I'm away."
Brigid Hosmer, 16, will be spending the next five months as a page in the U.S. Senate. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)