Local woman’s tenure as Sen. Lugar page in DC an ‘amazing’ experience

Dave Schiappa (right), Republican secretary of the United States Senate, poses with Huntington resident Sara King after the Senate page graduation in Washington D.C.
Dave Schiappa (right), Republican secretary of the United States Senate, poses with Huntington resident Sara King after the Senate page graduation in Washington D.C. Photo provided.

Originally published April 1, 2010.

"It was amazing."

Those were the first words out of Huntington resident Sara King's mouth describing her tenure in Washington, DC, as a Senate page for United States Sen. Richard Lugar.

Her internship was for the term of Sept. 7 to Jan. 23 and included independent studies for the part of the day and working in the Capitol for the rest of the day.

Since returning from Washington, King has enrolled at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne after receiving a scholarship. She said her learning experiences in DC, especially a hands-on trip the Botanical Gardens, made her want to look into the school.

She spoke with people who went to Canterbury, and they said classes were of a different style. So King, a junior, decided to make the switch from Huntington North High School to Canterbury.

"It's interesting. I go to school and I'm amazed everyday," she says.

As for school in the nation's capital, it proved too hard for some pages.

"Classes were really difficult for me," King says. "They sent six kids (out of the 30 pages) home because of grades. That's not untypical."

King says her "surreal" experience was different than what she had expected.

"I don't know if anyone could quite picture it until you actually experienced it," she notes.

"It was over as quickly as it started."

She says she ran fewer errands than she thought she would, but she did get to explore the Capitol building more. She also saw speeches and several celebrities, including Bill Gates and Jennifer Garner - "They're all very into politics I guess. Some of them were nice, some of them weren't."

She recalls the first time she met Vice President Joe Biden, who stepped into the train beneath the Capitol right behind her. He asked her for her name and she replied, "Indiana," explaining, "I thought he was going to ask me where I was from because I was wearing a name tag and so I got this reputation as someone who (stutters) around famous people. I couldn't believe I told him my name was Indiana, but he was really nice about it."

King also has a unique souvenir from her trip; a copy of the health care bill that was passed while she was there.

"My suitcase was overweight bringing this home, but I had to have one," she says, explaining that it looks bigger on TV than it really is.

There was also a lot of culture involved in the experience.

"That was one of my favorite parts, that even though we all live in the United States, there was such different culture with everyone. It was really different," she says.

One of her closest friends was from Kentucky, who shared the same first name as King and worked in the same shift. But by the end, everyone was pretty close, she adds.

When Jan. 23 came around, King didn't mind coming home.

"It's not that I ever hated Huntington before, but especially coming home I really just appreciate (it) and it's nice to be back here and be able to see my family and friends whenever I want to," she says.

King also found out on March 25 that she will be traveling to Poland this summer through an exchange program and in return, she will host a Polish student.

"When I applied, I was able to put that I'd spent time somewhere else and I think that helped my application be competitive," King explains.

She has plans to study international business and is currently visiting colleges.

"I would encourage people if they were interested to apply because I really didn't think that they would just choose someone so average like me, but it really changed my outlook, it changed what I want to be when I grow up and it really is just an informative experience for your life," King says.