Sophomores Face Off in SMOB Race

Sophomores Marisa Clery and Kevin Traore are running for SMOB. -- Photo by Anne Wagner

Sophomores Marisa Clery and Kevin Traore are running for SMOB. — Photo by Anne Wagner

Sophomores Marisa Clery and Kevin Traore are running for SMOB. -- Photo by Anne Wagner

When it comes to the SMOB (Student Member of the Board of Education) elections, RHS has never had its own student win an election in the 35 years SMOB has existed. But this year sophomores Marisa Clery and Kevin Traore hope to change that.

Clery’s political interests were largely inspired by her family’s involvement in government. She cites this involvement as the main influence behind her running in the SMOB election. “We were sitting around at dinner one night and I was complaining about school and they said, “Why don’t you just fix that and run for SMOB?a��” said Clery.

Clery, despite minimal involvement in student government activities, is far from inexperienced. A member of the It’s Academic Team and Mock Trial, Clery has also participated in town hall meetings, such as the one on last year’s proposed curfew bill. She also attended and spoke at various out-of-school events, including the Women in Public Service Colloquium, an initiative started by Hillary Clinton. “She is a very positive person, and she is very outgoing. She does not mind speaking up when she believes in something,” said math teacher Staci Lang.

Traore’s main inspiration is his desire to help his fellow students with issues like security and violence. A native French speaker, Traore is also using SMOB to help broaden his horizons. “I think it is important for a [leader] to … take in all sides before making a decision and I think that is one of the things that is true about Kevin,” said ESOL teacher Patrick Redding.

So what would Clery seek to fix as SMOB? For one thing, she would abolish the LC Policy and any similar policies for good, stating that it does not make sense for a student to fail for not being at school. According to Clery, such policies already exist. A student can miss school with an unexcused absence and receive a zero for that day and be done with the issue.

However, Traore believes that the LC Policy is necessary and that it is a good tool for getting kids to go to school. “I think [the LC Policy] is a great idea to motivate students because some students do not take school seriously,” said Traore.

Clery would also like to start having student evaluations of teachers, to provide those who spend the most time with teachers a chance to voice their opinions. Although critics of such evaluations may claim that students would vilify teachers who gave them bad grades, Clery believes that it would be clear to administration which students are providing honest feedback and which are just angry.

Traore’s biggest area of concern is violence in schools. “I think schools should be more secure for students. The schools should hire more security guards,” said Traore. Traore is passionate about keeping students safe against attacks committed by their fellow classmates, especially those that could be prevented with more adequate staffing of security.

Both RHS candidates are running as sophomores, while most of their competitors are juniors. However, current SMOB Alan Xie won his first term as a sophomore, which gives Clery and Traore hope. “[Xie] a�� says that people will take you as a person, not just a sophomore as opposed to a junior, if you are well-versed in the issues,” said Clery.

A nominating convention will take place March 1 where the current pool of seven candidates will be narrowed down to the final two. The rest of the MCPS student body will then vote April 25.