A field of 12 hopefuls for the student seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education was whittled to two on Wednesday.
The finalists are Nick Asante, a junior at Richard Montgomery High School, and Victoria Kidder, a junior at Col. Zadok Magruder High School. They were chosen during a nominating convention on Wednesday at Watkins Mill High School, where delegates from each county middle and high school voted for their top candidates.
Kidder has been active in student government since middle school, according to her candidate profile. She is the Student Government Association vice president at Magruder this year.
She emphasized the importance of diversity in schools, expanding students’ access to mental health services, providing free ACT and SAT preparatory courses and reducing the school district’s usage of single-use plastics.
“I feel like so many students are in the same place I was not too long ago, afraid of speaking up and standing out among their (peers) in order to push for positive change, and I truly believe that needs to change,” Kidder wrote in her profile. “… I have felt the anger of seeing my peers at other schools being offered more opportunities than me because we differ by one number in our zip codes. And lastly, I feel the same burning passion that I believe lots of other students do to be heard, and to have their desires represented through action.”
Asante is current student board member Nate Tinbite’s chief of staff and he serves as the student government’s legislative affairs director.
His priorities include mental health support, “overhauling our lunch menu,” providing free feminine hygiene products to students, providing a wider range of history courses and “pushing for the addition of more environmentally friendly measures” in schools.
“Sadly, one thing I’ve learned during my time in the system is that promises can be broken,” Asante wrote in his profile. “Our county, abundant in its resources and opportunities, oftentimes fails to meet the needs of many students. … It’s time we ensured that every student was given the resources and opportunities needed to succeed.”
Kidder and Asante will campaign through April. Then, on April 22, all middle and high school students are eligible to vote for the next student member, who will replace Tinbite in June.
The student school board member receives a $5,000 college scholarship, student service learning hours and one honors-level social studies credit.
Other candidates for the student seat were:
- Deborah Etyang, Northwood High School
- Roselyn Garcia, James Hubert Blake High School
- Angel Herrera, Springbrook High School
- Helina Kassa, Springbrook
- Yonathan Liebstein, Walter Johnson High School
- Jawad Malik, Paint Branch High School
- James Mu, Thomas S. Wootton High School
- Edward Piontek, Sherwood High School
- Nicolas Spring, Damascus High School
- Jason Wood, Churchill High School