J’Nay Penn to Head To Washington D.C. as Congressional Page

J’Nay Penn

Ivanna Eudora Kean High School junior and St. Johnian J’Nay Penn will make history this summer as the third Congressional Page to the U.S. House of Representatives from the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Congressional page program’s 200-year history.

Penn, daughter of Jose and Linda Penn, was nominated by her school’s student council, and is being sponsored by Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen.

“The student council chose me and asked if I wanted to do it,” said Penn. “I researched it and decided to do it. I think it will be a good experience.”

Congressional pages are high school juniors from across the country who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Penn To Serve Summer Term
While there are more than 400 members of Congress, there are only 66 page positions available, which considerably narrows the opportunity.

“The students have to apply with us, and we recommend them,” said Shanna O’Reilly, Christensen’s press assistant. “We had several applicants, but we went with J’Nay.”

Penn will serve for the summer term, which begins July 8 and ends August 8. Pages work as a team, and live in the Page Residence Hall on the House Campus.

Official Duties
Page duties include delivering correspondence and legislative material within the Capitol complex, and answering phones in the Congressional Members Cloakroom. Pages are paid approximately $1,450 a month for their services.

While Penn does not want to go into politics — she wants to be a graphic designer — she thinks the Congressional Page program will be a good opportunity, she explained.

“I’ll get to see how senators act, and it will look good on my college application,” said Penn. “I’ll get to go up there, where it’s a different atmosphere.”

Penn, who went on a college tour in April which included Washington, D.C., is hoping for warmer weather during her stint as a Congressional Page.

“It was nice in Washington, but it was kind of cold,” said Penn. “I know it will be hotter when I go this summer.”
Penn is also looking forward to experiencing dorm life, she explained.

Dorm Experience
“I like that we’re going to be staying in dorms,” said Penn. “I don’t have to wait until college to get that experience.”

Christensen was happy to nominate Penn to the Congressional page position, she explained.

“I am pleased to nominate this talented young lady to serve as a Congressional page,” said Christensen.

In 2002, Christensen nominated Ian Woods, a St. Thomas Antilles School junior, as the first page and in 2005, Keryn McGregor, a St. Croix Educational Complex Junior, as the second page.