Young Black Men Excel: In the Senate Page Program

Walter Hill served his country while still in high school

On Labor Day weekend Black Enterprise will be holding its first ever Black Men XCEL Summit, a “combination of empowerment, inspiration, networking, and entertainment” that celebrates the leadership and excellence of black men.

Leading up to the event, I thought it would be fun to profile young black men who are excelling by doing what’s out of the ordinary.

Our second Q&A (see our first Q&A here) is with Walter Hill III. Hill grew up near Washington, D.C., and is a full-time student at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, where he’s studying computer science. He spent a semester of high school as a Senate Page in the nation’s capital. You may have seen him on C-SPAN. (Full disclosure: Hill is my husband’s cousin.)

Walter Hill III (Image: Walter Hill III Photo credit: Secretary of the Senate)

 

How did you become a Senate Page?

Walter Hill: I became a Senate Page through my high school. I was offered the opportunity to go to school and work on Capitol Hill sponsored by the now-retired Sen. Harry Reid.

What were your duties as a Senate Page?

WH: Our duties encompassed both work and academics. By day, our job was to support senators on both sides in preparing the Senate floor for their speeches. Sometimes that meant just setting up a podium; other times it meant helping to display graphs or posters. Another major part of our work was ensuring that legislation, transcripts, and correspondence were delivered safely to a number of offices in the Capitol and the other Senate office buildings. At night and in the early morning, my classmates and I spent our time focused on school and schoolwork. Mornings were spent in the classroom learning history, math, English, science. After work, doing homework was how I spent a lot of my time.

How many pages were in your cohort? Did you live in a dorm?

WH: There were 27 pages in my class, including myself. They came from all across the United States, from places like Maine and Hawaii. We all lived together in a dorm on Capitol Hill named after Daniel Webster, who founded the program. We ate, slept, learned, and had a lot of fun together there.

How old are you, and what high school did you attend?

WH: I am 19 now. I attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., and I was in my junior year when I spent a semester as a Senate Page.

Did being a Senate Page affect your college or career plans?

WH: No, but the program did help me grow in other important ways. I now have a greater understanding and love of history. My time in the Senate also sparked a deep interest in the politics and the policies of our nation. The Senate Page program has made me a more engaged and conscious citizen. I also came away with a newfound respect for our elected representatives.

What are your career plans?

WH: After college, I want to work as a programmer and game designer in the video game industry. It would be exciting to be able to work on large, multimillion-[dollar] selling games like Halo or Assassin’s Creed. Ultimately, I plan to start my own video game studio and create fun and unique entertainment for others to enjoy.

For more information about the Senate Page program, go here.

Register now for the Black Men XCEL Summit and join us for a celebration of black men!