Sylvan Lutz is going from the halls of Reynolds secondary this spring to the halls of the House of Commons in Ottawa in September.
The graduating 17-year-old is one of 40 students accepted out of more than 800 applicants into the Page Program. He’ll study full-time as an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa and work about 15 hours per week as a page.
Lutz, who volunteered for Murray Rankin’s campaign in the 2015 federal election and with Rob Fleming in the recent provincial election, began the Page Program’s three-step application process in December, about the same time he started his university applications.
“I spent a lot of time researching it, it’s intriguing to me to be in that environment with Canada’s leaders,” Lutz said. “It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else.”
Lutz isn’t the only Page at Reynolds. Teacher Rachelle Tyrrell once did it too.
It was Lutz’s application to McGill University, which included a 500 word essay, that caught Daniells’ attention. McGill not only offered Sylvan a scholarship worth $5,000 for each year of his undergrad, they also offered to defer the scholarship so he can attend the University of Ottawa this year.
“I could tell Sylvan has a high awareness of the political arena since Day 1, his understanding of political satire is exceptional,” said teacher Patricia Daniells.
For Lutz, the toughest part of the application process was the gap of time he waited between the second stage, a bilingual phone interview, and the third stage, an online (Skype) interview.
“It was a long break, more than one month, I thought I didn’t pass the French test,” Lutz said. “Turns out they were making their way across the country from east to west.”
Pages in the House of Commons do a lot of jobs, namely running messages between MPs. They are also tasked with setting up committee rooms and odd jobs such as ensuring there is drinking water available. But most importantly, it’s who they’re among, Lutz said.
“I’m very interested in our political system and making sure everyone recognizes the importance of being involved in politics.”
It’s still early, and the teen isn’t sure if he’ll chase a life in politics, but it’s entirely possible, he said.