March Executive Board Meeting Recap

After two years of quarantine and virtual transitions - MCR held its first hybrid meeting on March 3rd, 2022. Almost exactly two years since the last MCR in-person meeting in March 2020- the occasion was both emotional and ceremonial. Three sets of officers later, the executive board gathered, at Richard Montgomery HS, to share business and finally meet faces they’d previously only known through a screen.

In SMOB Hana O’Looney’s words, the energy was “palpable.” She kicked the meeting off with her detailed SMOB Report amidst murmurs of excitement. She reiterated that the recently-instituted SuperIntendent, Monifa McKnight, is constantly seeking input from students, and is reachable through mail, board meetings, student groups, etc.

Next followed officer reports beginning with President, Shairee Arora, who notably presided over the Nominating Convention, turned 17, and got her license in the month of February. MCR Vice President, Ashley Morales, began school visits and planned the MCR 101 event. Next, Treasurer, Maahe Kunvar, highlighted the grant program that she says “anyone who needs a grant can apply for” and encourages them to do so. It is open for applications every quarter and can be found on the MCR website. Finally, Secretary, Queen Balina, worked on expanding the MCR email list, with outreach coordinators, in an effort to make the organization more accessible.

After the officer recap and some icebreakers, SEC co-director Divvya Kumar spoke about MCR elections on behalf of the SEC, highlighting that the GPA eligibility has been lifted due for officer candidates. Additionally, the upcoming general assembly will be held in-person as well, at Watkins Mill HS. The meeting is open to MCPS students, and all are encouraged to attend.

Next on the meeting agenda was a Vision Board activity, where participants were randomly split into large breakout groups and discussed open-ended questions regarding the future of MCR. Questions included: what students seek from MCR in the coming months/years; what goals they have for their position; and what they would like to see implemented or changed. Due to the hybrid format of the meeting, the group of participants contributing their views was diverse- consisting of more than just Executive Board members, but also local SGA participants, and interested students, from across the county, seeking to get involved.

After the groups concluded their discussions, a spokesperson from each presented the strongest ideas to the assembly. Many groups felt strongly about increasing valid representation and inclusivity within MCR, reaching more than just school SGAs. In particular, Allison Sweeney of the Special Issues department, and former MCJC Treasurer, emphasized raising awareness of MCJC and middle-school opportunities for younger students. Additionally, many students, in their discussions, commended the in-person nature of the meeting and recommended more in-person events. They found it to be unifying- a good way to make up for the lost time that the pandemic induced.

However the hybrid format of the meeting did present some challenges - especially for virtual participants. During icebreakers and department breakouts, problems arose from the interface between in-person and virtual participants. Many groups struggled to connect due to sound-related or technology issues, and even from distractions that the in-person setting created. “There was an initial barrier” that Sedise Tiruneh from the Public Relations department noticed “between people participating between people participating in person and virtually.” Despite this, she could still “immediately feel the community and connection through the screen.” MCR officers are committed to working on resolving interface issues and we look forward to seeing improvements and the aforementioned “community and connection” at the next executive board meeting!

To summarize the meeting in SEC director, Paris Ye’s words “after this meeting” she’s “never felt more connected.” The next MCR meeting will be held on April 7th, in-person and open to any interested students!

Written by Norah D'Cruze

Published by PR Department