Four Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) seniors are representing the school system this year in the Maryland General Assembly’s Student Page Program. They are seniors Charlie Bowie, Sydney Gunther, Kaylah Pratt and David Yum.
Each of this year’s selected participants are leaders among CCPS students in the areas of academics, student government, athletics and extracurricular activities. Gunther, Pratt and Yum were chosen as program representatives and Bowie is the program alternate this year. Students in the program, including the alternate, participate in the Maryland General Assembly’s legislative session.
Selected pages serve two nonconsecutive weeks, during the 13 weeks of session. The session runs from the second week in January to early April, each page serves one week during the first seven weeks and returns for a second week of service during the last six.
More than 100 Maryland high school students participate in the program annually, each serving as a representative of their respective school district. Three representatives are chosen from each district with a fourth student serving as an alternate. Students can apply during their senior year and the selection process is competitive. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in the program and interview before a panel of judges.
Bowie is a senior at Thomas Stone High School with an interest in politics starting at a young age in elementary school. “I have always had an interest in the difference between what’s right and what is wrong with a strong sense of justice at a young age,” Bowie said. After high school Bowie plans to study political science to become a policy analyst to assist communities in learning legal jargon and the effects on these communities. “I applied to the program with hopes to learn about the different processes that seem hard to understand,” Bowie said.
Bowie is involved in Student Government Association (SGA) and Mock Trial. Bowie is also involved in a peer-to-peer mentoring program called Help Me Help You. The program is one of CCPS’ partners in education. Bowie assists teachers by closely working with students on the elementary school level. “I was excited when I first heard that I was selected to be a part of the Student Page program,” Bowie said.
Gunther is a senior at St. Charles High School. She wants to know what goes into the lawmaking process which led her to apply for the program. Her hope is to become a criminal defense lawyer. After high school Gunther wants to attend the University of Miami to major in criminology or political science with a minor in sport science or culinary. She also wants to attend Harvard Law School.
She is involved in Mock Trial, SGA, is the vice president of the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC) and a member of Teen Court. “I had a real-life experience when I was younger that led me to want to learn more about policies and laws,” Gunther said. She applied for the program with a desire to “learn the behind the scenes of it,” she said. When selected for the program she was surprised because “there are a lot of great people in the county.”
Pratt is a senior at Westlake High School. She wants to attend the University of Maryland, College Park to study legal management or law. Her interest in government, politics and law peaked her interest in applying for the Student Page program. “When I saw the opportunity, I jumped on it,” she said. She wants to be a lawyer or any job involving government. The show “Criminal Minds” first sparked her interest in the field and then she explored the topic beyond the show.
She is looking forward to meeting new people and to see how the State Government operates, each role works and explore other opportunities that she can pursue. At Westlake, Pratt holds many positions from choir president to treasurer for Mock Trial, SGA and the Thespian Board. At University of Maryland she wants to be apart of Model UN, student government and the prelaw fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta.
Yum is a senior at Westlake. After high school he wants to attend a university and major in the field of business, law or political science. Yum applied for the program because he feels that he can make a difference in the field and that the program can help him take the first step. He has worked closely with government officials gaining exposure to the field. “My experience in the political field, working with senators, the governor of Maryland and secretary of state made me interested in applying,” he said.
When he first learned that he was accepted into the program he was “honored, privileged and very excited.” Yum is excited to learn more about the educational and racial equality bills. Yum is Westlake’s student liaison to the Charles County Board of Education, a part of the Board of Education Youth Advisory Council, principal’s advisory council, is the chief of staff of the student member of the Board, President of the Next Generation Leadership Council, started by the Maryland Secretary of State Susan Lee. He has also created a nonprofit organization teaching impoverished students. “I realized that I could make a change at the school and make a difference for people like me, people of color, people in my community and at my school,” he said.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.
CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).