He may not be old enough to vote yet, but Grayson Covey, 14, is living the opportunity to learn about the political world firsthand at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.
Grayson, an eighth grader at Dublin Middle School, is currently working as a Page for the Virginia House of Delegates. He is one of 40 Pages that were appointed by Speaker of the House William Howell, out of 160 applicants from across the Commonwealth.
According to his mother, Angie Covey, Grayson managed to land the job on his second try.
“He did not give up,” said Covey. “He kept a positive attitude, and was determined he could do this.”
The Pages were sworn in this past Sunday, Jan. 5, by the House Clerk G. Paul Nardo. They will work with the Virginia General Assembly until Saturday, March 8.
As a Page, Grayson will assist the Speaker of the House, Members of the House of Delegates, House Clerk’s staff, and other legislative staff. His duties include distributing legislation and legislative documents, assisting committee clerks, answering phones, and other general office duties.
According to Covey, Grayson’s interest in the program goes back to a family trip to the General Assembly in 2008, when he was 9. After noticing some Pages working in the Capital, he expressed his curiosity about the program.
While there, Grayson met Delegate Dave Nutter, who showed him around and answered his questions. Due to 13-14 year old age eligibility, he had to wait several years before he could apply.
To become a Page, the first step is obtaining an endorsement from the applicant’s local delegate, who, for Grayson, was Delegate Nick Rush. In addition, they also have to receive approval from their teachers, school principal, and guidance counselor.
According to Covey, Grayson received support from his teachers and administrators at Dublin Middle School, as well as Superintendent Dr. Thomas Brewster. In a reference letter from Grayson’s history teacher, Leslie Turner, she mentioned Grayson’s ability to handle the position, while still keeping up with his schoolwork.
“He has been able to simultaneously embrace his individuality, ambition, and inquisitive nature,” said Turner. “These qualities have made him quite remarkable since he was very young.”
A House Page’s typical workweek is Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a mandatory study hall every evening so they can keep on task with their schoolwork. Unfortunately, Grayson was unable to comment on his experience due to his busy schedule.
“In reality, he is working a fulltime job while completing his schoolwork online,” said Covey. “With that said, he is the busiest he has ever been in his life.”
According to Covey, Grayson is learning a great deal about Virginia government through his experience. She also said he will be learning real life lessons such as budgeting, as the Pages receive $25 per Diem for meals and miscellaneous expenses.
Overall, Covey and the rest of the family, including Grayson’s father, Ronald, and sister, Sadie, look forward to seeing how the experience shapes Grayson when he gets back.
“We look forward to hearing his perspective on politics after he spends nine weeks in the middle of the action,” said Covey. “I believe our debates will be taken to an all new level.”