Junior Max Choi makes difficult decision to launch SMOB campaign


Photo by Vincent Lee

Junior SMOB candidate Max Choi attends a swim meet scrimmage against Poolesville.

A big presence around school, junior class president Max Choi launched his campaign for Student Member of the Board in hopes of advocating for students all throughout MCPS.

Choi is a well-rounded student, acting as class president and competitively swimming. With big aspirations for the coming years, he competed in the primaries of the SMOB election, where he took sixth in the countywide vote.

Being an active student with numerous different commitments, there was a question as to whether or not Choi is spreading himself too thin. Despite it threatening his position as class president, Choi was ready to drop everything in hopes of being the SMOB. “I would be risking my presidency for the SMOB, though I absolutely love class planning and working with everyone in it, I decided to try something out of my comfort zone,” Choi said. 

Running for SMOB is not an easy thing to do, as one must face some of the best students around the county. Choi has devoted much of his time in the MCPS system to building a solid resume. “Having been class president for three years, SGA for two years in middle school, SGA Vice President in eighth grade, I figured with my knowledge and experience, I had a shot at running a good campaign,” Choi said.

Choi has and will continue to rely on help from his fellow students and administration as he continues on this path. This is not something that can be accomplished without a great support system. “I cannot forget to give credit to Mr. [Nick] Hitchens, he really helped me out a lot from getting me excused absences to leave school, lending me his office for Zoom meetings, or offering me advice on my campaign, I’m very fortunate to have him helping me out,” Choi said.

Choi is skeptical about the amount of voice students truly have on the board, which was the point of instituting this campaign in the first place. In addition, there is also a question over how much SMOBs are able to accomplish during the year. “I really want to be that positive drive for students to have a voice that is unfiltered and listened to,” Choi said.

Over the years that the SMOB program has been in place, most candidates have focused on flashy issues while ignoring some of the bigger challenges facing the county, according to Choi. Another main issue Choi would like to focus on is the county’s transportation problems and the recent driver shortages. “Before the pandemic, MCPS already had a shortage of bus drivers, however they failed to address this and the problem was accentuated during the return to in person learning,” Choi said.