HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – As the fourth year of the Suffolk County Legislature’s Page Program concluded on Aug. 10, legislators and staff celebrated the graduation of 26 participants, the largest class to date.
After spending the summer immersed in the inner workings of local government, Pages will return to college with a comprehensive understanding of the legislature and possible career paths.
“We are so proud of all that the Pages have accomplished this summer,” said the legislature’s presiding officer, DuWayne Gregory, who started the program in 2015. “Not only did they learn about the intricacies of local government, lawmaking, and public service, but they also gained valuable experience in working together to find common ground. Although the Pages are together for only a short time, they have developed leadership skills that they will carry with them for a lifetime.”
“It’s been a pleasure watching these young men and women immerse themselves in the policy-making process,” said Legislator Tom Cilmi, the minority leader. “They’ve learned how our government works, developed their interpersonal skills, and gained an understanding of the complexities often inherent in the issues we confront on a daily basis. I am confident that, whether or not they go on to pursue public service, they leave the Page Program with real life experience and skills which will serve them well in the future.”
The Page Program is an intensive 12-week program that provides college-aged students with a behind-the-scenes look into local government. Pages remain actively involved in all aspects of the county, listening and communicating with Suffolk’s Legislators, other elected officials, policymakers and special guests who offer valuable information about their job responsibilities. Students also participate in weekly mock legislative meetings during which they play the roles of county legislators, form their own caucuses, debate mock legislation and observe the legislative process in real time during county meetings.
“I learned a lot,” said Page Zachary Dyer, a Stony Brook University student from Rocky Point. “I really appreciated the hands-on experience.”
“I really liked the experience of sitting at the horseshoe,” added Page Michael Casey from Commack, who said he also enjoyed when the Pages visited county facilities. “The jail was definitely the best fieldtrip. It was so cool seeing everything from that perspective.”
Other trips included the Medical Examiner’s Office, Suffolk County Police Headquarters, the Riverhead Correctional Facility and the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium. Each tour was specifically designed to expose Pages to different facets and responsibilities of the county. Pages also participated in a “Mock Interview Day” during which they met with county employees and legislators who prepared them for future job interviews by offering constructive criticism and helpful advice to broaden their experiences and promote self-confidence. Additionally, students were assigned homework that was graded weekly, challenging them even while they were not attending legislative activities.
“This year’s program proved to be the most successful and exciting program we’ve had,” said Clerk of the Legislature Jason Richberg, whose office coordinates the program. “It was a pleasure to work with these students every week and help them understand how our county works. The program’s motto is ‘Leadership for the Future,’ and I believe these students will be the next generation of leaders in Suffolk County. I’m proud that the Page Program has helped play a part in that.”
The 26 Pages in the 2018 Page Program were:
Nicholas Abbazio of Lindenhurst, Fordham University
Erica Bavaro of West Islip, Farmingdale State College
Charlotte Beisel of Bayport, American University
Shannon Benson of East Setauket, McGill University
Nava Berger of Huntington, Stony Brook University
Briana Camassa of Lake Grove, SUNY Oneonta
Michael Casey of Commack, Commack High School
Imad Chaudhry of Farmingville, Suffolk County Community College
James Daley of East Islip, who plans to attend George Washington University
Skyler Delucia of Smithtown, Suffolk County Community College
Zachary Dyer of Rocky Point, Stony Brook University
Andrew Harris of West Islip, Stony Brook University
Evelyn Hernandez of West Babylon, Suffolk County Community College
Vanessa Vilma-Herrera of West Babylon, Stony Brook University
Kyle Hobson of Massapequa, Morehouse College
Michael Neuhaus of Mastic Beach, who plans to attend Suffolk County Community College
Nicolas Nogueira of Valley Stream, Stony Brook University
Michael Pascuzzi of Commack, St. Joseph’s College
Hannah Reichelscheimer of Commack, Binghamton University
Dylan Wheeler of Huntington, Washington College
Destiny Wise of Amityville, who plans to attend Farmingdale State College
Casey Haack of St. James, SUNY Geneseo
Siena Hohne of East Northport, Georgetown University
Jayla Mack of North Babylon, Towson University
Maria Massimo of Hauppauge, Villanova University
Brian Monahan of Smithtown, St. John’s University
Casey Haack, Siena Hohne, Jayla Mack, Maria Massimo and Brian Monahan served as “Senior Pages” who went through the program previously and returned to help organize activities and guide this year’s Pages.
Applications for next year’s Page Program will be available in the spring of 2019. For details on the program, please visit the Suffolk County Legislature’s website at www.scnylegislature.us.
Caption for above photo: The Suffolk County Legislature’s 2018 Pages celebrate their graduation from the intensive summer internship program on Aug. 10.