Savana Hodge is going to Washington, D.C., to work this summer.
The 17-year-old rising Maryville High School senior will serve six weeks as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Each day Savana will take classes from 7 to 8 a.m. and then serve on the House floor or in the capitol working with visitors.
“I’ve always have been interested in politics,” Savana said. “This makes me want to learn more and see how things operate. You don’t really know unless you work there yourself. This will be a great first-hand experience.”
Savana said she wants to learn more about the political process, but it is the opportunity to meet new people that is the most exciting,.
“I love to meet new people. Everyone has a different story,” she said. “I will be meeting pages from everywhere.”
One of her duties will be to assist with tours for visitors who come to the capitol. “That will be really fun. Not only do you learn about history, you get to tell other people about it,” she said.
Savana said she hopes to attend either Belmont University or the University of Tennessee after her senior year at Maryville. She learned of the page program from U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan. As he told her and her family about the program, Savana got excited about the opportunity and decided to apply. “Congressman Duncan helped with recommendations and guiding me through the process.”
The application process involved getting letters of recommendation, writing an essay and interviews before she got word she had been named to the page staff for the summer.
Savana said she was thankful to Duncan. “I appreciate all his efforts,” she said.
The summer pages will serve from June 26 through Aug. 5, which means Savana will miss the first few days of her senior year at MHS. The pages stay in a dorm situated between the Library of Congress and the capitol, she said.
This summer pages are doubling the length of time they are working at the capitol.
“It just happened because of the way the session falls this year,” said Savana. Savana said she was a little nervous, but she is Facebook messaging with other summer pages and learning what things she’ll need to bring and what to expect. “I’m just anxious because the whole experience is still something of a unknown for me. But more than nervous, I’m excited, counting down the days,” she said.
Savana’s parents, Tom and Mary Ann Hodge, and younger sister, Holli, are all making the trip to drop her off for her six-week job.
“It is a milestone for us to be see her grow into the young lady she’s becoming,” said Mary Ann. “It is also something every parent looks forward to -- seeing their child grow up and become an adult. This is a precursor to college, so I’m both anxious and excited. Tom and I are very proud of her. We know what an honor this is for her to get to do this.”
Mary Ann said her daughter’s maturity will help her get the most out of this opportunity.
“Savana is a mature young lady and has an innate sense of direction for her age. I’m certain that her time in Washington will help her,” her mother said.
Savana’s sister, Holli, is a rising freshman at Maryville High School. “I’m happy that Savana has this opportunity to spend the summer in D.C.,” Holli said. “It is going to different for me without her here, because we are very close and spend a lot of time together. I’m planning to go to see her several times while she’s there.”
Savana will chronicle some of her experiences in Blount Today with a weekly column we are calling “On the Hill,” which starts next Thursday.