Student delegates from across the county came together to vote on two finalists for the next school year’s Student Member of the Board. By the end of the program, the two candidates chosen were junior Nick Asante from Richard Montgomery High School and junior Victoria Kidder from Magruder High School.
“I like that it’s all very student-centered, student-driven. Students from every high school and middle school go and choose the finalists, and I like that the person who’s elected is also chosen by the students,” said social studies teacher Lory Gardner.
The nominating convention began with all 12 candidates giving a four-minute speech, with delegates casting votes for their top three candidates. Six candidates moved on to the next and final round and were subject to three rounds of questions, and given 30 seconds to speak, as well as a one-minute closing statement. Afterward, the two finalists were chosen.
“I thought the process was phenomenal, as always! This year especially, the convention ran exceptionally smooth with no hiccups. Voting process was clear, speeches were kept to their time—everything was incredibly well organized!” said senior Zoe Tishaev.
Asante, one of the finalists, based his campaign on promises to provide free and equal education for all students regardless of factors that may otherwise hinder students’ academic success.
“Our county, abundant in its resources and opportunities, oftentimes fails to meet the needs of many students,” said Asante. “In 2020, it doesn’t make sense that students are prohibited from high achievement solely because of the school they attend and their socioeconomic status.”
Kidder addressed a variety of different topics, also touching on educational inequality, as well as additional mental health services and LGBTQ+ history classes.
“I have felt the anger of seeing my peers at other schools being offered more opportunities than me because we differ by one number in our zip codes,” said Kidder. “I feel the same burning passion that I believe lots of other students do to be heard and to have their desires represented through action.”
At one point in the day, Kidder tore up her speech and threw it aside, a deviation from the normal SMOB conference that many students had not witnessed before.
“[Kidder said] ‘I don’t need to read off a piece of paper to tell you all what I believe in.’ That was a huge break from SMOB convention norms, and it was refreshing to see a candidate speak truly from the heart,” said Tishaev.
After being nominated, the two chosen candidates will move on to the General Election April 22, where all MoCo middle and high school students will vote on the 43rd Student Member of the Board.