By FRED KRONER
The first time Mahomet’s Tim Glumac served a day as page for Republican state Senator Chapin Rose, he wasn’t fully prepared.
“We had to borrow a blazer,” said Patti Glumac, his mother.
That was when Tim was in fifth grade. He is now finishing up his sophomore year at Mahomet-Seymour and spending a day as a page has become an annual occurrence.
“I love observing, taking it in and listening,” Tim Glumac said. “It’s such a great inside look to hear the discussion and see how it works.
“It’s fresh each time. You hear something new.”
Rose represents a geographic area that encompasses 49 school districts.
“We routinely invite young people over to page on the Senate floor,” he said.
The Senator from Mahomet doesn’t generally see familiar faces. Glumac is the first to return year after year after year.
“Tim is mature for his age, knowledgeable of state government and what’s going on in the world,” Rose said. “He’s a great young man who is very polite and will definitely go places.”
It was by chance that the Glumacs learned about the opportunity for youngsters to interact in the state government as pages.
“We were at a bar-be-que at a friend’s house and the Roses were part of the group,” Patti Glumac said.
She knew Camille Rose from a Bible study they had attended together.
“I don’t know how it came up, but Camille suggested it and we pursued it,” Patti Glumac said.
Tim Glumac couldn’t be happier.
“It’s a good fit for my interests,” he said. “I went in not knowing what to expect.”
He couldn’t imagine what the experience would be like.
“I’m closer to the action than I expected,” Tim Glumac said. “I sit right next to him.
“I thought I would just hang around. I didn’t expect to do as much.”
During times when they are not in session, Tim Glumac doesn’t sit idly by.
“Talking to politicians one-on-one has invigorated me to pursue it further,” he said. “A large part of being there is to observe, but being able to talk to people is a special experience.
“Every person I’ve talked to has been very encouraging and very supportive.”
Glumac said he is in an ideal situation.
“Mr. Rose is the perfect senator to shadow,” he said. “He is relatable and kind, easily approachable.
“He’ll be frank and tell you like it is. He always explains things to me and shares opinions with me.”
As for his friends, Glumac said most know about his involvement.
“A lot of people think it’s cool, but not a lot are interested in spending seven hours listening to conversations,” Tim Glumac said. “I tell them when you go, you see and hear everything the senator would hear.
“You’re in large-scale committee meetings, listening, learning and seeing how the process works.”
Patti Glumac drives her oldest son to Springfield on the days he is selected to page.
She makes it an event for herself, too.
“It’s all open to the public,” she said. “I bring a book, but I watch and hang out (in the President’s gallery).”
She sees benefits for her son beyond the ability for him to experience the process up close.
“He is also learning how to be comfortable with a suit, meeting adults and shaking hands,” Patti Glumac said. “Tim is definitely comfortable looking adults in the eye.
“It’s an excellent experience.”
Tim Glumac has not committed himself to his future endeavors, but said, “I would love to see myself in the political field or in a business-oriented field.”
There is one promise he is willing to make.
If he ever decides to run for Senator in Illinois’ 51st District, which Rose represents, Glumac said he won’t do so for a while.
“I’d wait until he retires,” Glumac said.
The teenager has an assortment of other interests.
He was a member of the M-S Math team, which recently placed third at state. He also enjoys creative writing, especially for e-sports. History and social studies are his favorite subjects.
Glumac looks forward to future times when he can again serve Rose as a page for a day.
“This has given me such an interesting perspective and look-in,” he said. “It has changed my outlook so much.
“I’m astonished at how much I thought I knew, but didn’t know. I plan to do it twice a year until I graduate.”
In particular, he has gained a broader understanding of issues with higher education.
“After sitting in on a meeting with the NIU president, I was able to see problems first-hand,” Tim Glumac said, “and see solutions put together first-hand. It changed my outlook on how to deal with things like this.”
He has changed more than his outlook on the political scene.
“At first,” he said, “I hated (a suit and tie), but I really like it now.”
Rose said it’s possible for other ambitious youngsters to share the same experiences that Glumac has witnessed.
“I enjoy students coming over,” Rose said. “If people are interested, contact my website (Senator Chapin Rose’s website) and leave a note (under the contact prompt).
“It’s an educational opportunity for the kids.”
Rose recommends that students be in at least the fifth grade.
“I find that if they’re younger than fifth grade, they are too young to comprehend what is going on,” he said.