ROCKVILLE, Md (WDVM) – Two finalists have been determined for the next Student Member of the Board (SMOB) for Montgomery County’s Board of Education.
Current SMOB Nick Asante will finish his term at the end of spring and will be replaced by either 16-year-old Henry Kaye of Rockville or 17-year-old Hana O’Looney of Gaithersburg, both juniors at Richard Montgomery highschool.
Kaye is a student athlete and an eagle scout. Kaye says he wants to serve on the position to break down barriers and make it easier for students to have their voices heard.
“I do believe that many students have been left out of the conversation, whether it be because they work a part-time job, whether they have geographic locations, whether they have to deal with childcare responsibilities at home, whether they’re in unfortunate socioeconomic situations,” Kaye said. “We need someone who understands that. We need someone who brings all perspectives forward and we need someone who will represent all students.”
O’Looney is the Vice President of the county-wide Student Government Association and said she was inspired to run when she saw disparities between different schools within the county.
“Whether you live in up-county or down-county has a huge impact on the resources you have available to you in pursuing your education and the teachers you’re awarded, the programs you have access to, and, in some cases, the funding that your school gets,” she said. “And I think that’s a really huge issue that needs to be addressed in the public school system.”
BOE President Brenda Wolff says regardless of which student is elected to the position, she’s looking forward to working with them.
“[The] student is our ultimate customer so it’s very important to have a student member, because that person is the liaison to our constituency,” Wolff said. “That person is keeping their eyes and ears open on the issues that we need to address.”
The SMOB position would give a student full voting rights, aside from negative personnel decisions, on votes like operating budgets and school closings.
The election will open for middle and highschool students on April 21.