When lawmakers get down to business at the State Capitol, pages are waiting in the wings. 
"They have us running errands, delivering messages, delivering folders," said Karli Foster, a Senate page from Collinsville.

And when there's work to be done in the General Assembly Building, pages often provide the manual labor.  "It's a lot of fun, but it's a lot of hard work as well," added Bailey Thomas, a Senate page from Madison Heights.

Pages have played a role in Virginia's legislative process for more than 100 years. Their jobs have evolved in the computer age, but pages still help to keep the wheels of government turning.

"Capitol Square is a large machine," said Will Mason, a Senate page who lives in Roanoke. "It's a beautiful machine and it's one that we need to work. And I like to think of the pages as oil to this machine. We help things run efficiently, we help things run smoothly," he told us.

This year's class included the son of a Congressman, and four pages whose parents represent central and western Virginia in the General Assembly.

Wes Newman is a Senate messenger from Forest. He enjoyed watching his father, Senator Steve Newman, at work. "He's a little bit more quiet than the other Senators," Wes Newman told us, "but it's still good to see him get up every once in a while and just stand up for what he believes in."

Hunter Fariss lives in Campbell County. Serving as a Senate messenger helped him appreciate the hours his father, Delegate Matt Fariss, puts in during the General Assembly session. "I see it's hard being away from home," he said, "and it's hard to deal with stuff back home when you're up here."

Michael Head joined his father, Delegate Chris Head, in Richmond.  As a Senate messenger, he didn't see his father as much as he expected.  "It's interesting because a lot of people.... said, 'Oh this is great you'll get to spend so much time with your dad,' and then I get here and we see each other at most twice a week for a hello, goodbye, wave to each other." 

Virginia has one of the last residential page programs in the country, but the young people who come to the State Capitol each year offer a spirited defense. Alexander Baynum is a House page from Salem. "I'd say it's great and it really educates the person, not only life lessons, but also how the government works."

Charles Hurt is the son of 5th District Congressman Robert Hurt. As a House page, he spent many hours delivering packages and sitting in committee hearings, but the Chatham resident says he enjoyed the experience more than he expected. "Sitting in on the Courts of Justice Committee is really interesting," Hurt told us. "It's been so much fun and I've learned a lot."

Raines Wall enjoyed working in the House chamber and listening to the debates on transportation and other important issues.  He says he also heads home to Chatham with experiences he won't soon forget, including "friendships and the education and the learning how state government works on a very personal level."

Other pages from western Virginia included Emily Carrico of Fries and Robert Kreft of Roanoke. The pages' assignment ended Saturday on the final day of the regular session, but many will return in April when state lawmakers reconvene for the annual veto session.