Richard Montgomery High School junior Hana O’Looney will be the next student member of the Montgomery County Board of Education.
O’Looney will be sworn in for her one-year term on July 1, replacing fellow Richard Montgomery student Nick Asante, the current student board member.
All middle and high school students were eligible to vote in the election, and about 33,000 cast a ballot, according to MCPS.
O’Looney, the vice president of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association, received about 78% of all votes. Her challenger, Henry Kaye, received about 21%. Kaye is also a junior at Richard Montgomery.
O’Looney has also served as president of the Montgomery County Junior Councils and the countywide middle school student government. She has been on several MCPS committees addressing testing and student wellness.
In recent years, O’Looney successfully advocated for MCPS to provide free menstrual hygiene products in student bathrooms.
In her candidate profile, O’Looney wrote that she decided to run for the school board position because she has “seen the huge disparities in educational opportunities that are given to students.”
“I am running for SMOB because your ZIP code in Montgomery County should not determine the courses, extracurriculars, resources, or infrastructure you have access to,” she wrote. “Whether it’s through utilizing the MCPS anti-racism audit, reopening schools, or distributing equitable funding to schools that need it most, I want to ensure that students in every region of Montgomery County have access to the world-class education that they deserve, and that this seat is an opportunity for all of our voices to be heard.”
O’Looney wrote that her top three goals are to reopen schools safely, diversify the district’s staff and curriculum, and close the “opportunity gap.”
The student member of the school board has full voting rights, except on negative personnel actions. They are not paid, but receive a $5,000 college scholarship, student service learning hours, and an honors-level social studies credit.
O’Looney will be the 44th student member of the Montgomery County school board.
These past 4 months have been incredible. In a year like no other, instead of walking your halls & giving out stickers, I attended your zooms & duetted your TikToks. Thank you all for supporting this campaign, and for entrusting me to serve as your 44th SMOB. Let’s get to work!
— Hana O’Looney | オルーニー後藤 花 (@hanaolooney) April 23, 2021
Congratulations @hana4smob!! I know I’ll be leaving the county in good hands and I’m beyond excited to see what you accomplish during your term. https://t.co/L29BG2GDJ4
— Nick Asante (he/him) (@nickasante_) April 23, 2021
Well deserved. Watch out, Montgomery County. Hana is the real deal. Congratulations! https://t.co/5SZvF67MLp
— Damon Monteleone (@RMHS_Principal) April 24, 2021
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