By Loralee Beard
Maekenzi Johnson, a junior at Mountain View High School, Lawrenceville, GA is spending the Spring of her Junior year in Washington DC. Maekenzi has never been the type of teenager that approaches her spare time wondering what to do next. However, her combination of persistence and luck, made her one of 30 high school Juniors throughout the United States who is currently serving as a United States Senate Page.
Maekenzi’s path to this honor began with leadership roles such as serving on the Executive Board of the Mountain View High School Student Council and the Bear Leadership Team. She is also on the county wide Gwinnett Leadership Team and President of the Law Exploring Program. She has also developed an interest in music. Maekenzi has written over seventy songs and toured with a musical group “Kids Helping Kids” throughout the Midwest.
When Maekenzi decided to apply to be United States Senate Page, she knew it was not easy to be selected. She began with a phone interview with the staff of United States Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson. She was told from the beginning that while she was a strong candidate, it was highly unlikely that she would make the Spring group of Pages and should not expect to be in Washington DC till Summer term. Once the Spring class was chosen, there was less than a 2% chance that an opening would appear.
Then, when she was in Washington DC on Christmas vacation with her parents and 3 younger sisters, she received the call that ALMOST never comes—there was an opening for a Spring Page. Maekenzi, surrounded with her entire family accepted the sudden opening over the phone.
She flew out to begin her Spring session in Washington DC on Martin Luther King Day. When the experience is over after Spring, she goes back to her family including sisters Kennedy, age 15, and twins Paris and Mallory, age 9. The Johnson family moved to Georgia from Ohio 2 years ago when her father became Resource Development Director of the Salvation Army.
Every successful person has a support team and Maekenzi’s includes her close friend and colleague, Mountain View High School Senior Noah Barnes. Noah leaked the information that during the Spring break given to all Senate Pages, Maekenzi plans to fly back to Georgia and attend the MVHS Prom.
Life as a Senate Page involves much more than schoolwork (which is included in the experience.) She and the other pages will live in dorms where cell phones and Ipads are not allowed. Pages cannot even bring these items from home. When I met with Maekenzi, she was busy with the mandatory task of memorizing the names and states and political stance of all 100 Senators. As part of the responsibilities of being a Page, Maekenzi will be expected to prepare the Senate Chamber, act as a messenger between the Senate and Congress, and sit near the dais during Sessions to help as needed.
When this experience ends, Maekenzi will return to her Senior year at MVHS as the next step in her impressive road to serving her community on all levels: church, family, local and national.