Arvin Kim, a rising senior at Walt Whitman High School, is the new student member of the school board. Credit: Christine Zhu

Arvin Kim was sworn in Friday as the 45th student member of the Montgomery County Board of Education.

Kim, a rising senior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, replaced Hana O’Looney, who graduated in June from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. He will serve a one-year term.

About 56,000 public middle and high school students voted in the April election for the student board member, Bethesda Beat previously reported. Kim received about 59% of the votes cast, defeating his challenger, Baba Cisse, now a rising senior at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington.

Previously, Kim served as the legislative affairs deputy, treasurer and chief of staff for the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association, according to his campaign website. He has also held positions with the Montgomery County Junior Council, Maryland Association of Student Councils, Asian American Progressive Student Union, MoCo Pride, MoCo for Change and SMOB Advisory Cabinet.

Kim’s platform includes creating diverse and inclusive curriculums, according to his campaign website.

During Friday’s ceremony, Kim spoke of his admiration for his father, who was the first in his family to attend college. Kim said his father spent his days attending classes and his nights working in restaurants to pursue his dreams.


“He brought his dreams here, to America, to Montgomery County, to provide his kids with what to him was synonymous with opportunity: an education,” Kim said.

Kim said he still remembered seeing O’Looney, another Asian American then-middle school student, getting on a stage and having an impact the first time he went to a general assembly meeting for the Montgomery County Junior Council several years ago.

O’Looney is the first student member in Maryland to have full voting rights on the school board who was elected district-wide, according to her LinkedIn.


The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill earlier this year altering the scholarship award for the student member of the school board to be equal to one year’s worth of tuition, mandatory fees and room and board for an in-state undergraduate at the University System of Maryland.

Kim is the first student member of the board to take office following the passage of the bill, which took effect July 1.