HOUSE PAGE YEW

Peter Muhlenberg student Kaylee Yew, left, of Woodstock, and Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Mount Jackson, right, pose for a photo on the House floor in Richmond. Yew is serving as a page during the General Assembly session.

WOODSTOCK – While most eighth-graders are running around schoolyards, Kaylee Yew is striding through the halls of the Capitol in Richmond.

Yew’s schedule is more akin to her parents than her peers as she spends close to eight hours a day, four days a week — and a half day on Friday — working as a page for the Virginia General Assembly.

“When they’re in session, you’re running errands or opening doors or doing stuff throughout the Capitol building,” Yew said. “When you’re not working on the floor during session, you are on ‘jobs.’”

Yew said her jobs assignment is information technology, so she handles odd jobs like changing the toner in printers, data entry projects and editing videos.

On top of her duties as a page, Yew is still responsible for her school work. Before coming to Richmond, she had to have her four core teachers, principal and guidance counselor all sign off on her ability to handle the work along with school. Yew also had a letter of recommendation from her local representative, Todd Gilbert.

As she was already an active, outgoing student, Yew said she has adjusted to the freedom and responsibility just fine. Things might even be a little easier than before, she said.

Yew’s parents both work at her middle school, {span}Peter Muhlenberg,{/span} so between them bringing homework home for her on weekends and emailing with teachers, Yew said getting all her work done from Richmond is easy.

“I personally find it easier for most of my classes doing it not in school,” she said. “The only class I’d rather be in school for is geometry.”

Working outside the classroom has given Yew a chance to build valuable life skills, she said, as well as learn more about how the government operates. Before she started, she needed to open a checking account and learn about how to use — and not use — her debit card.

The first life skill she said she learned was how to pay at a restaurant.

“I had never done that before, and I asked one of my friends and she wouldn’t tell me what to do,” she said. “So I was kind of confused.”

Financial responsibility aside, Yew said she is also learning about how valuable being social and getting to know people is. When she’s working on the floor, she said, it’s important she knows who people are so she can help, or ask for help.

Once she has learned about the state government, Yew said she isn’t interested in working in politics, but she would be happy to return as a page and tell anyone who is interested they should apply for the program.

Yew started working in Richmond at the beginning of the current assembly’s session and will end her time this month, just before the assembly’s short session is adjourned.

“The program as a whole is a very welcoming place and you learn so much about the government and life skills and what you want to do,” she said. “It really gives you a taste of what working with the government is like.”

Contact Max Thornberry at mthornberry@nvdaily.com