KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Leaders of Congress have announced they are ending the venerable page program in the U.S. House of Representatives to save money. That makes a senior at Blue Springs High School one of the last to serve. Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever Amanda Trosen has returned from Washington, DC with many memories, a new goal for her future and high-praise as a model page.
As he gives her a tour of his midtown Kansas City District Office, it's "get-reacquainted-time" for Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II and Amanda Trosen of Blue Springs. For much of the past year the Blue Springs High School senior and the congressman saw each other and worked closely together on an almost daily basis in Washington, DC on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. "Amanda is a model page," says Congressman Cleaver. "I hate to embarrass her but she knows I said this in front of the other pages."
Amanda spent the entire past school year as a Congressional page -- running messages and doing many other very important odd jobs for the members -- and going to school in the Library of Congress.
"I would not trade the past year for anything," says Amanda. "A lot of people were like, 'Are you sure you want to miss your junior year of high school?' Without a doubt I would do it all over again."
And Amanda did her job so well she was one of just a handful of pages to be asked back to serve a second semester.
"What I saw and what the other members saw was this bright, very happy young woman, always willing and ready to do whatever members need to have done," says Congressman Cleaver.
"I feel like I had a front row seat for history in the making," says Amanda. Some of the most riveting political history in recent memory.
"I loved seeing it happen," says Amanda. "I didn't know as much about government as I thought I did when I took my first step on the House floor. "I've definitely developed a new sense of politics than I had before I went."
Amanda says there are many moments that stand out about her page service including the State of the Union Address in January. In a house tradition, pages gathered outside the main doors of the House to greet President Obama as he got ready to go in to deliver his speech. Congressman Cleaver made sure Amanda was right up front. She has a wonderful photo of it taken from above, all the pages hands and arms outstretched to the President as he reaches to them.
"I was the second one to shake his hand," says Amanda. "My best friend, Ryan (another page) was first. He beat me to it. It was a big moment."
Amanda's return from her incredible year in Washington, DC comes with some sadness and disappointment. That's because the leaders of Congress are ending the page program in the U.S. House, reportedly as a cost-saving move.
"It was devastating when I found out," says Amanda. "It's like a little piece of you is gone because no one is ever going to have the same experiences you had again.
And that's definitely hard to grasp because it changed me in so many ways and I just want it to change other people in the same ways."
Living and working in Washington, DC among the most powerful and influential people in America gave Amanda a new vision for her future. Interested for years in a journalism career, Amanda still intends to pursue that but concentrate on politics and also go to law school and later run for political office.
"When I left DC, I was like, 'What am I doing? I just got the experience of a lifetime and I need to use what I've learned.' I'm not going to throw back and not use it in my future."
And Amanda says she could see herself doing what several pages before her already have done -- return one day to the U.S. Capitol as a member of Congress herself.
Congressman Cleaver and other Representatives who strongly support the page program say it has been one of the best things about Congress and they vow to try to get it reinstated. Meantime, the U.S. Senate still has its pages.
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Phil Witt, Fox 4 News firstname.lastname@example.org