senior profiles editor
Every year, all of the students in MCPS vote to have one student represent their voice on the Board of Education. The position of student member of the board or SMOB, is a big responsibility and a time consuming position. One student at this school is hoping to win that position this year: sophomore Ani Ayyagari.
Ayyagari decided to run for SMOB after observing the job that previous SMOB’s had done and deciding that he was not satisfied with what they had accomplished. “I decided to run for SMOB after seeing the people who were elected to represent us fail to listen to us. I feel as though if we keep electing the same people to represent us over and over again, we will get the same results and won’t be fighting for the radical change that we all want to see in our education system. The kid politicians who have held this position in the past have consistently failed to listen to us and it’s time we break the cycle,” Ayyagari said.
It is clear that Ayyagari has a clear image of what the SMOB should and should not look like. He believes that he is the answer to the SMOBs in the past who may not have been the right people for the job. “People should vote for me for SMOB because although every candidate talks about change, I am the representation of it. Instead of electing another kid politician to waste another year of the SMOB position, I believe that students will choose to elect real change in a representative that truly represents them,” Ayyagari said.
In order to win a SMOB election, a candidate must have a clear focus on their plans if they are elected. Ayyagari has two specific principles he will focus on if given the chance to serve as SMOB. “If I was elected as SMOB I would focus on quality and equality. Quality in the services and education we provide our students by reworking the school lunch contract to outsource to local companies with brand names students actually recognize. I would want to update out technology to ditch paper and textbooks altogether in favor of tablets, and by overhauling our curriculum to make the skills taught applicable to the real world,” Ayyagari said.
Running for SMOB is not a small task; it takes time and dedication, but within all of the hard work can be memorable moments for a student passionate about making their school and county a better place. “What I absolutely love about the SMOB campaign so far is being able to meet new people from all different backgrounds all over the county. More than just meeting students at school visits, it really brings me a sense of joy when students can relate to me so easily. I have been frequently told by students at schools that I visit that they’ve seen me around, not as a politician, but as a normal student, and that they feel like they can connect to me. That has genuinely made me feel that the average student is eager for change and wants to see someone like them be elected to represent them,” Ayyagari said.
Ayyagari will find out if he is one of the final candidates for SMOB at the nominating convention on Feb. 20.