Hauppauge, NY - August 12, 2016 - Twenty-three students are headed back to school this fall with a unique conversation starter after participating in the 2016 Suffolk County Legislature Page Program.
The Suffolk County Legislature’s Pages are honored by the full legislature at the July 26 general meeting as a thank you for all their hard work this summer.
Now in its second year, this summer’s Page Program drew students from a variety of schools and majors, culminating in a graduation ceremony on Aug. 5. Over the course of 11 weeks this summer, Pages got a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of local government by working in legislative offices, visiting various county departments and participating in the legislative process.
“These Pages were a bright, enthusiastic bunch who brought a lot of character to the Legislature this summer,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory. “Each of the Pages brought something special to the table, and, just as it is in real politics, they had different ideas and interests but worked together to find common ground and ultimately, success. Suffolk County is lucky to have such innovative young leaders. We wish them well in their future endeavors.”
“I’m very proud of all the hard work the Pages have done this year,” said Minority Leader and 14th District Legislator Kevin McCaffrey. “They are a very smart, hard-working and determined group of young leaders who are going to make great strides wherever they go in this world.”
Pages this year toured various county facilities, including the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Riverhead Correctional Facility. They also saw the legislative process at work when they sat in on meetings of the full legislature and later held meetings of their own to craft and debate mock legislation. The civic-minded young people assumed the roles of legislators, elected their peers into leadership roles, and held meetings around the horseshoe, following the same rules of order that real legislators do.
“I am extremely honored to have served as Page Presiding Officer for the Page Program this year,” said Brittany Grimm of Shirley, a rising senior at the University of West Florida. “It has been an excellent learning experience. I am glad to have met all of my fellow Page legislators and worked together with them this summer.”
“This has been an eye-opening experience,” added Tyler Person of Calverton, who served as Page Deputy Presiding Officer. He is a rising senior at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer. On top of making wonderful new friends, I had the opportunity to network with multiple different people in different levels of government throughout the county.”
Not only did the Pages get an intimate look at how the county operates, but they also honed some of their professional skills. On Mock Interview Day, in a conference room filled with county officials and employees, the Pages got the chance to sharpen their job interviewing skills. Handshakes and business cards were exchanged, and many of the students walked out with potential internships.
“The Page Program provided great opportunities to network and to experience local government firsthand,” said Kathleen Wall of Massapequa Park, who served as Page Majority Caucus Leader. She is a rising senior at the University of Delaware. “I am very grateful to have spent my summer in this program with my fellow Pages.”
“The Page Program was an unforgettable experience,” added Hofstra University student Osman Kazdal of Lindenhurst, who served as Page Minority Caucus Leader. “Aside from learning about the way my government works, I have made several close relationships that I will carry with me into the future.”
“This was a special group of students,” said Jason Richberg, Clerk of Suffolk County Legislature and co-organizer of the program. “They brought so much passion, debated with vigor and respect, and took the program to a new level. We hope this experience will help shape them as the leaders of tomorrow.”
The 21 Pages of the 2016 Program were:
Rachel Simone Bagley of Amityville, SUNY New Paltz
Roman Berger of Smithtown, Stony Brook University
Brianna Goodfellow of Bay Shore, SUNY Cortland
Brittany Grimm of Shirley, University of West Florida
Thomas Harrison of Setauket, Stony Brook University
Nailah Jones of Brentwood, Stony Brook University
Osman Kazdal of Lindenhurst, Hofstra University
Matthew Kogut of Bohemia, St. Joseph’s College
Samantha Levine of Huntington, Binghamton University
Laura Logan of Shoreham, Hofstra University
Jayla Mack of North Babylon, Towson University
Maria Massimo of Hauppauge, Villanova University
Stephen Mott of Nesconset, SUNY Geneseo
Christopher North of Greenport, Suffolk County Community College
Shannon O’Connor of Islip Terrace, Wilkes University
Tyler Person of Calverton, St. Joseph’s College
Juan Ramon of East Patchogue, Stony Brook University
Kevin Rutigliano of Beverly, Mass., Stony Brook University
Joseph Strassfield of Watermill, SUNY Geneseo
Kathleen Wall of Massapequa Park, University of Delaware
Hannah Willen of Northport, Northeastern University
Additionally, the program included two Senior Pages, students who served as Pages last year and came back this summer to help organize the program. The Senior Pages were George Basile of Setauket, a student at Temple University, and Kristen Lomando of Sayville, a graduate of Briarcliffe College who will start at Touro Law School in the fall.