WASHINGTON, D.C. - While most action takes place under the lights, sometimes the sidelines have the best seat in the house.
Mullen senior Allie Glassman has had a front row view to some of the most exciting sports moments in school history. Now, she can also say the same about our nation.
"I literally had a front row seat to history," Glassman said. "I was sitting on the senate floor with [the senators], and that's an opportunity nobody gets."
Early this year, the then-junior packed up her bags and headed east to Washington, D.C. Glassman was chosen as one of 30 high school juniors nationwide to participate in the Congressional page program. From January through June, it was her job to attend classes in the morning before helping the senate with its day-to-day duties on the floor.
"We collected speeches, we ran bills, amendments, any votes that we had, we tallied, and then we would run to the corresponding offices that they needed," she said.
That also meant being available as long as the senators needed.
"We were in session with them until they adjourned, so if they went overnight, we stayed up overnight," Glassman added.
Sixteen students were chosen for the majority party page program, and 14 for the minority. Glassman was sponsored by Colorado senator Michael Bennett.
"He had me submit a resume, I wrote him a letter. I wrote an essay talking about what it would mean to me to be able to do this [and] why I wanted to do it," Glassman said. "I waited a year and got an answer."
The senior received the good news in November. In December, she competed with the Mustangs at the state spirit competition, and just weeks later, was on a plane headed for the nation's capitol. The last-minute news was well received for the self-proclaimed, history-buff. Glassman was introduced to politics at the age of four by her father. It has stuck with her ever since.
"I love history. I plan on studying political science in college," she said. "I just got so much of a greater appreciation for our government and the way our country is run. [This experience] really just made me want to get more involved."
The Congressional page program did come with some adjustments. Allie's phone was taken from her during the duration of the program, and the pages were given very little access to the internet. The lack of technology gave her a chance to grow closer with her teammates.
"I got to meet kids from across the United States," she said. "I made life-long friendships that are so dear and important to me. I learned so much, not only about myself, but about our country and the inner-workings."
The interactions with the senators also gave her a chance to see them as people, not figures. Allie says she would hear them talking about their families, children and weekend-plans as they prepared to vote, a bipartisan look at the senate that many don't often get to experience firsthand.
"They were so helpful. They wanted to know how we were doing, if there was anything they could do to help us. Getting to know them on a basis like that was really special to me," she said.
The job also came with perks -- like discovering new and weird facts about the nation's home.
"Not many people know this, but there are actually bathtubs in the basement of the capitol," she said. "My friends and I would go and wander, and it was our goal to find all of the bathtubs."
While Glassman is looking forward to one-day pursuing a career in the political world (she's thinking more private sector), she's not in any rush. Since getting home, she has resumed duties as the pom poms team captain and getting back into the flow of being a normal 17-year-old. Still, she plans on using the skills she learned from this experience and applying them to her current life.
"It definitely taught me I was more capable than I ever thought I could be, and it also showed me that I'm ready to be an adult and I can take on the responsibilities."
For now, leading from the sidelines will have to do.
"This experience has allowed me to really understand what it means to be in charge," she said. Having the respect of other people is so much more important than telling them what to do."
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