The election of the Student Member of the Board (SMOB) is the eighth largest election in the state of Maryland and students’ first glimpse into the world of voting. With the general election scheduled for April 24, there is still plenty of time to think of who the next SMOB will be, but more importantly how they will live up to the SMOBs of the past.
Since the position of SMOB was formed in 1978, there have been representatives from all parts of the county. While the position is thought to lead to a successful future for the elected, it’s important that they focus on the students’ needs. “The new SMOB needs to bring a global perspective and not just represent the board; they need to represent their constituents’ opinions as well,” SGA adviser Fevronia Cresham said.
After the county-wide election, Richard Montgomery senior Ananya Tadikonda will leave her position as the 41st SMOB. During her tenure, Tadikonda has been a chair on the Strategic Planning and the Policy Management Committees while working with the Montgomery County Regional SGA. “I think [Tadikonda] has really done a great job of listening to student voices around the county. She dedicates a lot of time to her work that people don’t necessarily know about and does it happily,” senior SGA co-president Liam Hall said.
Prior to Tadikonda, Sherwood senior Matthew Post was the 40th SMOB from 2017 to 2018. His time in office overlapped major events such as two student suicides in late 2017 and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. These events allowed Post to start dialogues with students about mental health and stricter gun laws during his time in office. He pushed for suicide awareness programs in schools and made his voice heard by speaking at the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018.
From 2015 to 2017, Bethesda-Chevy Chase student Eric Guerci was Moco’s 38th/39th SMOB. During his time as a board member, he helped pass a law that allowed all future student members to have full voting rights so they can properly voice their constituents’ opinions. Guerci also assisted in choosing Dr.Jack Smith as the new superintendent and introduced the SMOB Minute videos.
Wootton’s own Timothy Hwang. In his voter’s guide that was released to students, he supported less testing/more teaching, finding solutions to close the achievement gap and open lunches. After his time in office, Hwang went to Princeton University and Harvard Business School and founded the company FiscalNote. “Hwang was super active. He’s the one that got me involved with the Kenya Connect charity. We gave them a check for over $10,000,” Cresham said.
Other students here have attempted to clinch students’ highest seat on the board. Last year, juniors Mei Yuzuki and Tony Ricciardella announced campaigns. Although they did not make it to the final two, their platforms established a prominent voice for the school.