Four Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) seniors have added an additional virtual learning experience to their resumes this school year. Seniors Brynna Bode, Denise Demontagnac, Morgan Jones and Christina Walker were recently named 2021 Maryland Student Pages through the General Assembly’s annual program.
The experience for these students will differ this year due to COVID-19 safety guidelines. The legislative session kicked off this week in both an in-person and virtual format for lawmakers. Students in the Page program participate in meetings and sessions virtually through Zoom for two one-week periods during the legislative session.
The program is part of the annual legislative session that runs January through April. More than 100 high school students participate, each serving as a representative of their respective school district. Three representatives are picked with a fourth student selected as an alternate. This year Bode, Demontagnac and Walker serve as CCPS representatives. Morgan is the program alternate.
The selection process is highly competitive. Students must complete an application and essay to detail their interest in the program. Applicants then go before a panel of judges for an interview to discuss their interest in learning about the government and public service. This year’s interview process was completed virtually for all applicants.
Bode is a senior at Henry E. Lackey High School and has worked as a student intern for the legal counsel at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office for the past two years. She said she applied for the program because she is interested in learning how laws are made. “I thought that the student page program would be a unique experience that would allow me to learn about the law-making process in an interesting way,” Bode said.
Bode is an honor roll student and plans to study engineering, and possibly law, after she graduates in June. Her school of choice is the University of Maryland, College Park. She said although she would prefer to be back at school, she is making the best of her senior year. “I am still learning and I have been able to do some different things because I am home more and have more time,” Bode said.
In addition to her role as a Student Page, Bode is also a member of the Lackey math team, Mock Trial, It’s Academic, the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society and the Lackey theatre program. Outside of school, she is involved in 4-H and raises livestock. Bode is excited to add Student Page to her resume. “I am considering going to law school after I earn my bachelors. I think that seeing firsthand how the laws are made would be an interesting experience for a career in law, but if I don’t end up going to law school, it is still interesting to me and will teach me more about the way the government is run,” Bode said.
Demontagnac is a senior at Thomas Stone High School. She learned about the Student Page program through Ava Morton, the college and career advisor at Stone. Morton knows Demontagnac is interested in politics and thought the opportunity was a perfect fit. “I have a huge interest in politics and law and seeing that I could possibly intern in a field that connects to my future career was something that I couldn’t have passed up. I also thought about how many interesting people I could meet that would teach me,” Demontagnac said.
Demontagnac, like her peers, is working hard to finish her senior year. The honor-roll student has a full course load and maintains a 4.2 GPA. She plans to attend either Georgetown University to study sociology, or the University of Maryland to study government and politics.
Demontagnac is a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. She has also participated in marching band, student government, and was a member of the school softball and dance teams. Last year, Demontagnac took a leadership law program through Leadership Initiatives, an organization based out of Washington, D.C., that provides students with hands-on learning opportunities and training. The organization also offers business-related and internship programs. Demontagnac completed a second law program through Leadership Initiatives in August 2020 and is currently completing an internship program.
She hopes her experience with the Student Page program will introduce her to new opportunities. “I know this program will introduce me to people that could provide me with more opportunities in the future but I also know that what I learn would further educate me on the legislative process and prepare me for a possible career in this field,” Demontagnac said.
Walker is a senior at Lackey and is the school’s student liaison to the Board of Education. Walker has held this role for the past two school years and is heavily involved in the student government association. She is the National Honor Society vice president and secretary of the Lackey senior class leadership team. Walker said she applied for the program so she could learn more about how government and law work in real-life situations.
“This is an opportunity to witness how my student experiences are translated into a professional setting. I want to use my student voice to learn and advocate for what I support,” Walker said.
Walker plans to major in political science and history, with a pre-law track. She hopes to attend the University of Washington in Seattle. Walker said virtual learning has helped her become a better student. “Although virtual learning comes with new difficulties it also fosters my growth and pushes me to have a harder work ethic and focus on my studies outside of school more than I normally would,” Walker said.
In addition to her active role in student government, Walker is a member of Mock Trial, It’s Academic, varsity tennis, polyglot games club and the Linden Farm Riding Academy competitive equestrian team. She also has logged more than 150 hours volunteering at the Charles County Public Library, La Plata branch, in the children’s department.
Walker is looking forward to learning more about state government. “As someone looking to become a lawyer and major in political science, what I learn from being a Student Page in this state government setting will enhance my basic knowledge of politics. It will also give me an inside look at the executive legislation, and as an adult graduating high school this opportunity will shape me into an educated citizen,” Walker said.
Jones is a senior at North Point High School and president of the Student Government Association (SGA). Her student government background also includes the roles of social media manager for the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC) and CCASC executive board member.
Jones said she applied for the Student Page program to learn more about legislative processes. “I am actively looking for ways that I can be civically engaged, and I wanted first-hand experience with the legislative process because of my interest in government and advocacy,” Jones said.
Jones is passionate about community issues such as school safety, mental health and cybersecurity. Her future plans include studying computer science with a focus in cybersecurity. She is hoping to attend the University of Maryland, College Park. For now, Jones is working hard to finish her senior year in a virtual setting. “Senior year is definitely not what I expected; however, I am trying to make the best of it by staying organized and keeping in touch with classmates. The adjustment to virtual learning was difficult at first, but I have a new routine to divvy up work so that I do not do it all at once,” Jones said.
In addition to her active role in student government, Jones is also a member of the National Honor Society, Girl Scouts and the North Point field hockey team.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event. CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).