The Maryland Student Member of the Board is a highly coveted student position. Much like the Montgomery County Student Member of the Board (currently Richard Montgomery High School senior Ananya Tadikonda), the State SMOB is the connection between the students and the Board of Education. At Maryland BOE meetings, the State SMOB is responsible for addressing issues concerning Maryland students.
In order to receive the position of State Student Member of the Board, one does not go through an election. Instead of having students vote of their candidacy, a student would have to apply through an online application. During a MASC SMOB panel, members review candidates and decide who gets to move forward. At this point, the decision of which candidate should become the next Maryland Student Member of the Board is left to the Governor.
The Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC) has the opportunity to nominate two students for Governor Hogan’s consideration. Ultimately, one of these nominees will be appointed by the Governor to serve a one‑year term as the Student Member of the Maryland State Board of Education.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, delegates from Montgomery County schools gathered at Northwood High school. Students were encouraged to attend the legislative session because if Montgomery County students were able to have state wide representation, it would be easier for students to make their opinions be heard. Participants gained knowledge of what is going on in the county, and some students were able to ask County SMOB candidates questions.
One of the delegates from Springbrook High School said, “I met a lot of people from different schools and those that are very active in politics...it was interesting to watch because I’ve never been to any of these things.”
Michael Solomon, a junior at Springbrook High school, is a founding member of MoCo for Change, an MCR Executive Board Education Policy deputy, and is currently a candidate for the position of Maryland State SMOB. At the legislative meeting, Solomon gave a presentation explaining his platform.
If Solomon won the position of State SMOB, he planned to work on issues such as the opportunity gap, mental health help in schools, as well as increased student involvement in state-wide school decisions.
In response to why he is running, Solomon said, “I’m tired of seeing my friends and classmates struggle to succeed in a system that’s designed to make their lives difficult...when we’re able to have a student voice on the board, we have a chance to cultivate a diverse collective of perspectives.” More information about Michael’s campaign can be found on his website: https://www.michaelforsmob.com.
Bryce Awono, a senior at Parkdale High School in Prince George’s County was appointed by the Governor to the position of Student Member on the Maryland State Board of Education for the 2018-2019 school year. Awono is the current State SMOB, serving from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.