My fascination with politics continued into high school. During the 2010 summer term, I was Gabrielle Giffords' congressional page. It was exhilarating, watching the way our government works from the House floor. I brushed shoulders with politicians in the news, and tracked bills as they were debated. My experience made me want to devote my life to serving the people of my country as an elected official.
I was appointed Gabrielle Giffords page during the summer congressional session. But, I was so busy during my time as a congressional page, that I did not get a picture with her. So, I, and my family decided to go to her Jan, 8 "Congress on Your Corner" event a few miles from my home in southern Arizona. Like Christina, I was in line that day when the shooting began.
My mother shielded me from the bullets and was shot three times. When the noise stopped, I did not completely understand what had happened. I looked to my right and saw the gunman pinned to the ground, and then to my left where I saw blood. It was then that I whipped out my cell phone and called 911. My mother was holding a white cloth against her back. I started to press the butcher's shirt harder into her back. Even in my stunned state, I realized that crying wouldn't help. I force myself to be calm, and to help wherever I could.
Many people have asked me whether the shooting has changed my mind about wanting to go into politics. "Absolutely not," is my answer. I still want to serve my country, and, if she had lived, I think Christina-Taylor would have said the same thing. I know I need both strategic and practical skills in order to run for office. A scholarship to the Young Women Political Leadership Program would help me gain those skills, and start me on my path serving others.