Hidden Valley Middle student spending winter as page
CAVE SPRING-Landon Dermott dreams of one day becoming president, but for now he is settling for a position as a page in the House of Delegates.
“I have always dreamt of being president, but in general I just want to be involved in politics,” Dermott said.
When Dermott found out about the Page Program with the House of Delegates, his curiosity about the political system led him to apply for a position.
“I learned about this program, and I immediately knew this would be a great experience, and I wanted the chance to do it,” Dermott said.
After working on the application, Dermott met with Delegate Morgan Griffith, who wrote a letter of recommendation for the Hidden Valley Middle School student. When 14-year-old Dermott found that he had been selected, he was thrilled.
Now that the session is halfway over, Dermott has learned much from his time as a page.
“I understand more about what goes on in order for a bill to be passed, and what goes on during a session as well,” Dermott said. “As a page, I have learned a lot more about government than I could ever learn in a classroom.”
He is still getting his class work done, however. Pages have a mandatory two hour study hall every Monday through Thursday evening. When he comes home on the weekends, Dermott receives his week’s worth of schoolwork. While there are tutors available, he is expected to complete his work independently.
Study hall is tough, however, since it comes on the heels of a very busy day.
“Serving as a page is a wonderful experience and an educational opportunity,” an online explanation of the page program reads. “However, it is also a 40-hour per week paid position for which they are making a firm commitment to report to work every day. Their commitment requires hard work, initiative, responsibility, and a positive attitude.”
Pages begin their day at 8:30 in the morning, and work until 5:00 in the evening. The day starts with a page meeting, and then Dermott leaves for one of two jobs. Every seven days, he alternates between going into session on the floor, or heading to his job with the Clerk of the House.
Dermott has especially benefitted from his time with the Clerk, Bruce Jamerson.
“As I worked in the Clerk of the House’s office and I watch him during the session, I have become interested in the job Mr. Jamerson does as Clerk,” Dermott said.
As a page on the House floor, however, he is also learning. His days are filled with collecting bills for filing, delivering legislation and documents through the Capitol complex, and performing errands for Delegates and staff members.
Even with all of the responsibilities, however, Dermott is enjoying his time in Richmond.
“My favorite part of being a page is getting to be at the state capital every day, getting to see all the history, and being involved in a working government,” Dermott said.
Another benefit of Dermott’s time in the page program is that he has done some growing up. Along with learning how to live on his own, albeit in a hotel, Dermott now has some financial experience under his belt.
“I am learning how to keep track of my expenses with my paycheck and basically everything it requires to live on my own,” Dermott said. “It is definitely going to help me out later on in life.”
Dermott knows more about his representative, Delegate Morgan Griffith, as well.
“I think Delegate Griffith does a great job, and I like him a lot,” Dermott said. “Whenever I see him in the session he is always working hard to be informed on what bills are being introduced and what he will vote. He does a great job in representing and he is a great man in general.”
Dermott’s mother, Leigh Ann Dermott, misses her son during the week, but knows the experience is essential for him.
“Landon has loved being a part of the program and witnessing the political process at work,” Leigh Ann Dermott said.
She has mixed emotions about the end of the session.
“It will be great to have him home again, but he really seems to be in his element there,” Leigh Ann Dermott said. “He is learning so much and, quite frankly, I am receiving a good education along with him as he shares the daily ‘goings on’ with me each evening.”
For more information about the page program, please call 804-698-1510 or send your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.