On Thursday, March 21, junior Allison Alston paid a visit at Mt. Hebron. Allison has been elected to be a finalist running for SMOB 2019. She came to Mt. Hebron to get to know Mt. Hebron’s SGA as well as for SGA to get to know her. Her main purpose to come was to distribute her knowledge about SMOB and to advocate her qualifications for being a good candidate for SMOB.
Each year, one student is elected to represent the student’s voice as a member on the Board of Education. HCPSS gives full access to the student member of the board, the SMOB, to analyze matters on brought up except issues pertaining to budget, personnel, or other restricted matters as well as bring ideas from the students of HCPSS to the Board of Education.
To become an official SMOB is a lengthy process. First, a student convention takes place where 132 delegates from each middle school and high schools in Howard County come together to vote in a primary election. This year’s convention resulted in a total of 15 candidates that were selected by the student delegates.
After the top 15 candidates are chosen, the student delegates chose the best two candidates out of 15 to move onto the general selection of the SMOB. The general election includes all students throughout HCPSS. The final voting to pick the next SMOB will take place on April 24 in all middle and high schools in Howard County.
Allison views student member of the board as the most important job in Howard County because it represents all voices of the students of HCPSS.
“Furthermore, since we all live in such a competitive county academically socially and economically, we rarely find time to focus on our mental and emotional well-being. It is my understanding that Howard County has one of the highest suicide rates and there has to be a reason why,” stated Allison. “It is the only voice that is actually directly affected, while the other adults have great ideas and intentions, however the adults do not get to experience what they do or how the student’s life as a whole gets impacted by various issues brought up in the board of education.”
Allison highly advocates mental health and that is one of her main goals of improvement if elected SMOB. “This is an issue because most people make fun about it and not seem to give it as much importance that it deserves.” She wants to make sure every student knows about the resources that they are given to help them when accompanied in issues.
“Even if we cannot address why, we can still do more as a county and as a school system to help each other out by education on our resources, implementation of new practices, and communication between staff and students particularly to develop a greater understanding of each other‘s needs”, said Allison.
Allison would advocate mental health by holding a student 101 mental awareness night. “This would encourage students to be more open about their mental wellness. Also, if the night is driven by students it would allow them to have a one on one conversation with other students that are dealing with the same issue, rather than talking to an adult and feeling awkward,” said Allison.
She will represent other student’s voices “as best as possible.” Allison would like to make sure she gets all voices heard at the best of her ability. A way for her to access this would be through canvas because everyone has access to it. There will be polls taking place on issues to get feedback from students which would allow her to get many opinions.
On April 24, in all middle and high schools voted to elect the 2019-2020 SMOB, the winner was Allison Alston with the highest votes.