Only 140 of the best and brightest of Ontario’s students get join Ontario’s Legislative Page Program each year. To be selected, you’ve got to prove you’ve got what it takes: you’ve got to be outgoing, high-achieving, involved in your community and demonstrate responsibility and leadership skills. Daniel, a home-educated teen, was one of them.
Home education gave Daniel the skills and achievements to serve in Ontario’s Legislative Page Program
Daniel Vander Hout’s potential was hard to miss. During a visit to Queen’s Park with his father, a Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) pegged the 13-year-old home-educated boy as a great fit for Ontario’s Legislative Page Program and encouraged him to apply.
Only 140 of the best and brightest of Ontario’s students get join the program each year. To be selected, you’ve got to prove you’ve got what it takes: you’ve got to be outgoing, high-achieving, involved in your community and demonstrate responsibility and leadership skills. Once accepted, students spend their term learning about the history and traditions of the Assembly, while seeing the legislature in action.
Daniel applied to the program and was accepted. In September 2011, he moved to Toronto to begin his term as a page. While serving at Queen’s Park, Daniel continued to make an impression as he carried out his duties, delivering messages in the Legislative Chamber (which allowed him to get to know some of the MPPs). Erin Tedford, his tutor, was particularly impressed by Daniel’s abilities and the breadth of experience which homeschooling had provided.
Now 17, Daniel is in his final year of high school, and making plans for college and university—including the possibility of studying law. But he isn’t limiting his options. He continues to take advantage of the opportunities and experiences homeschooling offers. In the fall of 2015, he took part in a three-month seminar in Colorado where he learned about philosophy, art, politics, literature and more—and earned college credits in the process. But this incredible opportunity was not without at least one disappointment for the politically minded young man: as a result of his study trip, he would miss Canada’s federal election! But, given that he is not yet old enough to vote or run for office, he says he is confident the trip was the right decision.
And as for the future, who can say? Perhaps someday Daniel will return to Queen’s Park as a MPP himself, and be able to encourage another student like him to take part in the page program. Whatever is in store, though, there can be no doubt: Daniel’s experiences as a homeschooler will continue to help him make an impression in whatever he chooses to do.
By Aaron Armstrong with additional reporting by Lisa McManus
Page Programs throughout Canada
In some jurisdictions, schools are responsible for selecting the page candidates. Homeschoolers should contact your local MLA or MPP to discuss alternate methods of application. If you are interested in serving as a page, check out the following links to get started on your research. Pages are generally paid a wage or receive an honorarium. Let HSLDA know about your experience!
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