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SMOB Candidate Elections by Daniel K.

The Student Member of the Board (SMOB) Elections is a yearly event with students from 11th or 12th grade running as a candidate. The two finalists that were selected for the 46th SMOB are Mr. Sami Saeed & Mr. Yoseph Zerihun.

According to Montgomery County Public Schools' The Bulletin, Mr. Sami Saeed is an 11th grade student from Richard Montgomery High School. He currently serves as the president of his school’s Student Government Association (SGA), he is a member of the current SMOB Advisory Council, and he is a member of the Montgomery County Commission on Youth and Children. He is also a passionate and devoted writer and has written for RM's The Tide newspaper.

Mr. Yoseph Zerihun is also an 11th grade student but from Springbrook High School. He is the captain of the school’s debate and mock trial teams, as well as the captain of the school’s varsity baseball and golf teams. Mr. Zerihun also proudly serves on Springbrook's SGA executive board as a Language Coordinator, where he ensures that the school’s SGA materials are translated for all students.

Photo Credit: The Bulletin

The SMOB Elections will be held on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. The election polls will open at 7:30 AM and will close around 3:30 PM. The results will be shared with finalists and will be announced to the public at 5:30 PM. In the event of distance learning and an online election, the election window may be extended and election results will be made publicly available after 8:00 PM.

The SMOB swearing-in ceremony is "To Be Determined" but will most likely occur sometime later in April.

From Sami Saeed’s Profile: "Why are you running for SMOB?"

I’ve seen and experienced firsthand how my voice has gone underheard as a student of color. And yet, there is something I have not yet seen: meaningful change in regards to improving the student experience in MCPS, and that is the reason that I decided to run for SMOB.” - Sami Saeed

Some of Sami’s campaign focuses on making the student experience better in the areas of mental health, opportunity representation, school lunches, drug prevention, and so much more. We will begin with a few main goals he hopes to achieve.

  • Mental Health & Workload Relief: Better utilize mental health workers and wellness centers in every Middle and High School. Implement monthly wellness days where teachers can’t assign new work and homework on the weekends.

  • Opportunity Representation: Increase course offerings in underfunded schools, diversify our staff and curriculum, expand use of surveys to hear the student voice, and offer equitable funding for arts, athletics, and extracurriculars.

  • School Lunches: Focus on diversifying our menu to include halal, kosher, vegan, and many more options for MCPS’ diverse student population. Create a large-scale student taste-testing committee that would taste-test current and new lunches throughout the school year.

To learn more about Sami, click here

Now let’s get dive into what Mr. Yoseph Zerihun has to say about the SMOB Election.

From Yoseph Zerihun’s Profile: "Why run for SMOB?"

Every year I always hear my classmates complaining that we don’t have a voice, we aren’t represented, and we aren’t heard. It always feels like our voices aren’t equal to those of different areas of Montgomery County. I’m not fighting for the majority and I’m not fighting for the minority, I’m fighting for all. So everyone is heard and so everyone has a say in school.” - Yoseph Zerihun

Like Sami Saeed, Yoseph Zerihun has creative ways of improving the student experience and making MCPS a safe space and better community.

He wants to help in fixing the educational opportunity gap for students in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Learning for Independence (LFI), and School Community-Based (SCB) programs. He also wants to expand the mental health resources to anyone that may need it. Finally, he wants to solve the spread of the ongoing opioid epidemic in MCPS.

You can find more information about Yoseph and thoughts on his campaign here and here.

Overall, both finalists campaigning for SMOB have a clear vision of how they can make schools of Montgomery County a finer and healthier place, so don't forget to vote during tomorrow's election!

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