Hannah Nolte was one of 14 high school students from across the state who served as “Page for a Day” at the Minnesota State Capitol from March 10 to 14. Nolte is shown above with State Rep. Greg Davids. The two had the opportunity to chat one on one about various topics during Nolte’s time at the Capitol.  SUBMITTED PHOTO
Hannah Nolte was one of 14 high school students from across the state who served as “Page for a Day” at the Minnesota State Capitol from March 10 to 14. Nolte is shown above with State Rep. Greg Davids. The two had the opportunity to chat one on one about various topics during Nolte’s time at the Capitol. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Mabel-Canton junior Hannah Nolte took a week off of school - and it was not because she was ill, wanted to play hooky or took a short vacation. Rather, it was because she had a rare opportunity to serve as "Page for a Day" at the State Capitol in St. Paul. Nolte was one of 70 juniors in the state that was selected to participate in the program.

Nolte explained she saw a flier in one of her classrooms earlier this year that advertised the opportunity. She wrote an essay about why she wanted to participate, filled out the application and received a letter of recommendation.

"It was so much fun, you learn stuff that you don't really know is happening," she explained. "Personally, getting to meet with everyone that's up there - you just learn a lot more and you understand it better.... We got to tour everywhere...it was just really cool."

During the week at the Capitol, Nolte was able to tour the entire Capitol complex, including the House and Senate chambers and pressroom. She also was able to meet with the House Speaker, both the House Majority and Minority leader, with senior House and Senate representatives, with members of the governor's staff and met one-on-one with Rep. Greg Davids.

Other parts of the experience included working on the House floor assisting representatives and serving on a mock committee. "During session, when they (House members) need stuff, they have lights on their desk and when they click that, you have to go to them, ask them what they want - usually it is a bill, or food or a vote call."

In the mock committee made up of Nolte and the other juniors, she did research on the current bill that would raise the state's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. Nolte said she was placed on the "side" that was in favor of raising the minimum wage. "It got very heated - you could see people really wanted to get their issue passed," Nolte said.

Nolte said her one-on-one meeting with Davids focused on how he votes, his personal political views, his family and her future plans beyond high school.

"We've been up there before (to the Capitol) as a school group to tour, but this was the first time to experience what it is like," Nolte added. "I learned that the Democrats and Republicans work together a lot more than you would think...and that for most of the representatives up there - this is their part-time job...and they work very hard door-knocking (for elections) to get to where they are."

Nolte also is an all-conference champion in speech and plays on the Mabel-Canton volleyball team. She also received high marks in her history day project (see March 13 issue of the News-Record) that she presented at Winona State University, advancing to the state competition in May.

Nolte said political science is one of many options she could pursue beyond high school. "I think it's kind of interesting, I don't know if I will end up doing it in college, there's a lot of options and I haven't decided yet," she said. "But it was really cool to see what it was like and see what you could do with a political science degree."

Nolte will be entering Winona State University as a PSEO (Post-Secondary Enrollment Option) student next year for her senior year. "Officially after high school, I don't know where I am going to go. But I will probably go into engineering as my big major," Nolte concluded.