CORNWALL, Ontario - A young Cornwall teen got the chance of a lifetime to rub shoulders with some of Ontario's most powerful people.
Jasper Ross, a Grade 8 student at St. Lawrence Secondary School in Cornwall, was selected to serve as a legislative page at Queen's Park in Toronto.
The pages act as messengers between MPPs, clerks and the speaker and also fetch water, documents and books for their assigned sections.
And it's hardly an easy job.
Not only has Ross missed the first month of school, but he also had to put in some significant study time in preparation for his new job.
Ross had to memorize all 107 MPPs' names and faces, their party affiliation their riding and the place that they sit in the chamber.
On top of that, he has also been receiving math tutoring in preparation for his return to St. Lawrence classrooms.
During a typical day in the program, pages arrive at Queen’s Park at approximately 8 a.m., dress in their uniforms and then prepare the Legislative Chamber for the morning’s debates. Their day officially begins before 9 a.m. when the House convenes, when attendance is taken and duties are assigned.
Twice during his term Ross has served as page captain and accompanied the procession with speaker and sergeant of arms at the opening of parliament.
All pages must be dressed in a three-piece suit, complete with tie for the boys and a jabot for the girls.
Ross said there were a lot of rules they have to follow as pages, including a specific way to sit on the dais, ways to cross the floor and keeping a straight face throughout the day. They also have to pay sharp attention to MPPs and clerks who may be trying to get their attention and remain nonpartisan.
Each year approximately 140 young students from across Ontario are selected to participate in this unique educational experience open to all Ontario students enrolled in grades 7 or 8. Ross earned his spot in the program by submitting an application that included an essay outlining their achievements, involvements and suitability for the program.