SMOB Nomination Convention 2023 (live updates)


Ella Rishell

SMOB candidates Sami Saeed (left) and Yoseph Zerihun (right) were voted to be finalists for the 2023 SMOB election.

1:00 pm – Latest Update

After the intensive Q&A session, concluding statements, and a brief lunch break, the final two candidates for the 2023 SMOB election are Sami Saeed and Yoseph Zerihun. Saeed is a junior at Richard Montgomery High School and Zerihun is a junior at Springbrook High School.

The election’s public vote, open to all MCPS students grades 6-12, will take place on April 19, 2023.

12:00 pm – Update

All 12 candidates concluded their initial speeches, with heavy focuses on the opioid crisis in MCPS, student equity, and a wider range of lunch options.

Concluding the first round of voting, delegates from each MCPS middle and high school selected the following six candidates moving on to the next round: Yoseph Zerihun, Praneel Suvarna, Samantha Ross, Faith Nah, Joseph Hartlove, and Sami Saeed.

The next round will consist of a Q&A session, with two pre-selected questions. Each candidate will receive 30 seconds to answer each question, and will be allotted one minute at the end for a concluding statement. Following the closing statements, the delegates will vote to select the two finalists for the 2023 SMOB election.

11:00 am – Update

Candidates have arrived at the O’Shea Theater in full force, equippedwith poster, stickers, and handouts that are being distributed to delegations from every school in MCPS.

“A lot of my ideas revolve around creating draft policy bills to send to Board of Education offices, so we can see actual action [in MCPS],” Suvarna said. “[My team and I] are not just here to make promises, we’re here to create change.”

“I think what we need is a SMOB that cares about equity and is passionate for the job, and that’s what I bring to the table,” Nah said.

“My experience is talking to other students, interacting with students, and seeing why they care [about change in MCPS],” Saeed said.

“I know the issues and disparities that our county is facing, and I want to tackle it head on,” Endessa said.

“I’ve been involved in advocacy since fourth grade, and I would love to continue to make a difference in the county,” Kobey said.

“I’m very passionate about representation [in Silver Spring]… I just want to make sure that everybody in the county has a voice,” Zerihun said.

“My main goals are [close] the opportunity gaps that have been missed throughout the county,” Wexler said. “I want to make a change so that every can have an equal opportunity if given the chance.”

“[My biggest policies] are safety and a better environment for students,” Murrar said. “I want to expand cafeteria options to vegans and vegetarians.”

“I have a passion for equity, and I want to make sure all students are represented,” Hartlove said. “I want to make MCPS a better place.”

“I know that every opportunity is something that we can do to change MCPS,” Ross said. “I want to elevate other students [and they] should have the chance to say what needs to change.”

“I want to bring all the people who don’t speak English [as a first language] to feel more involved,” Rivera said.

Current SMOB Arvin Kim is also in attendance, and he had some tips for all of the candidates.

“The most important job for the SMOB is to represent students, bring their experience [to light] and elevate the student voice,” Kim said.

“Right now [the Board of Education] is working on the operating budget with a number of cool features, including a couple of new accelerators around math and literacy,” Kim added.

Now all of the candidates are entering the theater and we will begin proceedings with opening remarks from the Vice President of the Board of Education, Shebra Evans and current SMOB, Arvin Kim.

8:45 am – Update

Welcome everyone to the 2023 Student Member of the Board Nominating Convention, or the SMOB Nom-Con. This year’s pool of applicants includes 12 students from 11 different schools around Montgomery County, and today we will see which two applicants will become finalists for the position of SMOB.

The first round of voting will narrow down the number of candidates to about half. The second round of voting will determine the final two candidates for the fourty-sixth SMOB.

The list of candidates are as follows;

Praneel Suvarna, Grade 10, Clarksburg High School

Samantha Ross, Grade 10, Blair High School

Shimma Wexler, Grade 10, Poolesville High School

Shayma Murrar, Grade 10, Quince Orchard High School

Sami Saeed, Grade 11, Richard Montgomery High School

Delina Kebede, Grade 11, Northwood High School

Jax Kobey, Grade 11, Wootton High School

Henry Rivera, Grade 11, Rockville High School

Ander Endessa, Grade 11, Wheaton High School

Faith Nah, Grade 11, Poolesville High School

Joseph Hartlove, Grade 11, Sherwood High School

Yoseph Zerihun, Grade 11, Springbrook High School

Stay tuned for more live updates throughout the day!

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