Along with all the buzz and commotion customary to early September, the school year has also ushered in a new MCR president, Michael Yin. Yin, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School, was named county-wide president after a competitive officer election at the General Assembly last April.
Yin joined MCR as an Education Policy deputy his sophomore year. In an interview with MCR’s Matt Kolodner, Yin said, “In the two to three years since, I’ve found a home here!” Last year, he served as the Public Relations Director, where he worked with his department to publicize MCR across the nearly seventy schools the association serves.
What drew Yin initially to MCR was its sense of community. “We're a mishmash of teenagers with all sorts of different backgrounds, but the common thread is that everyone believes in the change students can make. It's an incredibly positive attitude to see and be a part of!”
This attitude is certainly bolstered by his presence at the helm of MCR. Campaigning with slogans like “He's the kind guy who's your kind of guy”, Yin’s enthusiasm and compassion will serve him well this term.
His experience with student government ranges beyond MCR, though-- he served as president of his high school class and has led Blair’s SGA Web Team. In character with his modest disposition, Yin observed, “It doesn’t seem like a lot of experience before diving in headfirst.” However, he asserted, “I'm a firm believer that it's never too late to get involved and make a difference in your school or county.”
Yin hopes to translate his experiences at MCR to students across the county. In keeping with his past work as Public Relations Director, Yin stated, “ I hope to spread the word about MCR to every MoCo high schooler possible during my term; a lot of members tell me they would have joined MCR much earlier, if only they had known about it!” Beyond just raising awareness of MCR, Yin also seeks to diversify student voices at General Assemblies and to impact students directly through collaboration with school SGAs.
He detailed the various means students can become involved in MCR, saying, “At the beginning of each school year, middle and high schoolers can apply to join the Special Elections Committee, which manages the SMOB and MCR elections. Then, at the end of each year, 8th graders and high schoolers can apply to join on the MCR Executive Board or run for an officer position.” Besides direct involvement with MCR, students can attend monthly General Assemblies (which are open to all high schoolers in Montgomery County), and receive support from the various resources MCR provides.
MCR’s grant program is one such resource, designed to empower school clubs. Such clubs are eligible to apply for grants at www.mcrsga.com/apply after completing an application and an interview. Speaking on behalf of the organization, Yin stated, “MCR is focused on ensuring the grant program runs smoothly, with attention to keeping the program going strong far into the future.”
Yin is encouraged by Montgomery County’s progress thus far in student advocacy and growth. He said, “Our county has come a long way, and there's many achievements we can be proud of! One notable change is that our SMOB now has expanded voting rights, thanks to a bill we've long pushed for.”
MCR has advocated and will continue to advocate for a diverse range of policies, but mental health is an issue Yin finds particularly pressing. He supports mental health training for teachers, arguing, “Students may see their school counselor a couple times a year, but they see their teachers every day. A teacher who notices when things are going wrong can make all the difference.”
If his goals and experience are any indication, Michael Yin is more than ready to fulfill the duties of president. Yin is a capable leader and a kind collaborator, and the members of MCR’s executive board are deeply confident in his ability to direct MCR throughout the 2017-2018 school year.
Written by Emily Tian
Interview by Matt Kolodner
Published by PR Department