Words: Sarah Kruhm
On March 2, Kieran Newell, a junior at Centennial High School, began his campaign for the Student Member of the Board of Education. One of the two finalists in the county, Newell is the first candidate from Centennial to make it this far in the election process in five years. If Newell is voted into the position for the 2018-2019 school year, he will be the first member from Centennial to be in the office ever.
The Student Member of the Board, or SMOB, is a significant position in the Howard County Public School System. Supported by the Howard County Association of Student Councils, the post of SMOB entails one student representing the entire student body as a member of the Board of Education, and as representation of “Many Students, One Voice.” Every year, students in Howard County public middle and high schools vote for one current high school sophomore or junior to be the next year’s SMOB.
As a final candidate for SMOB, Newell is very aware of the pressure of the election, but he believes that his determination and outgoing personality will make him the best contender suitable for the position.
“In order to be an effective Student Member,” Newell reveals, “I must be willing to speak to as many students as possible and make a conscious effort to do so; my personality will assist me in my interpersonal endeavors.”
At the Delegate Convention on February 21 at Wilde Lake High School, the applicants for SMOB were reviewed and the final two candidates were nominated. There, students were able to voice their feelings regarding the present representation, announcing that they felt their ideas and beliefs were not being heard by members of student government. As a serious issue, Newell hopes that he can reach out to the diverse population of Howard County and establish proper representation for all.
“I believe that everyone has a voice, and I believe that the Student Member is there as someone who votes on the behalf of the student body based on what the student body wants.” Newell discloses, “I believe that the Student Member should be someone who can be the change the students want to see.”
If elected, Newell states that his first priority would be to improve communication between the Board and the student body. As he observed the current lack of representation and communication, Newell initially decided to run for SMOB to make the changes he wanted to see accomplished within the Board.
The public forum, where the candidates openly discuss their goals and solutions if elected, will be held on March 14. The general election, in which all Howard County public middle and high school students vote, will take place sometime in the middle of April.
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