Montgomery County “Councilmember for a Day” finalists named, reception ceremony to commence

On October 24, 2018, ten finalists for the “Montgomery County Councilmember for a Day” challenge will be received at the Montgomery County Council building in Rockville, MD, shortly before the Council begins its Youth Town Hall event at 7:00 PM. The ten students selected as finalists for this challenge are all, in accordance with the requirements of the competition, MCPS students between grades 8 and 11. While each student has undoubtedly worked hard in order to succeed in this competition, only one of the ten finalists will be chosen as a winner of the competition. According to Bethesda Magazine, the winner will receive a $500 gift card, as well as the opportunity to eat dinner with Montgomery County Council members. The winner will also get to be an honorary “Council Member for a Day.”

Participants and finalists in the challenge have come from a number of schools, including Walt Whitman High School, Montgomery Blair High School, Northwest High School, and Col. Zadok Magruder High School. This year, a student from Poolesville High School, sophomore Darshini Ganesh, is among the 10 finalists. Ganesh spoke out on her entry into the competition, and her feelings on becoming a finalist.
“ I was pretty shocked to find out that I was the only [finalist] from Poolesville…when we got the letter saying that I was a finalist, my dad was like ‘what did you do this time, why are we getting a letter from the MoCo Council?’ I was really shocked… but I’m happy because I don’t think many people know [about the issue I’m writing on.]”

Ganesh explained how she learned about the competition.
“A family friend of mine actually sent [an internet link for the competition], and she was like ‘hey, you like writing essays, I think you would do good with it’…I was like ‘oh, I’ll give it a try’ and so I did.” she stated.

According to the Montgomery County Council website, the idea of the Councilmember for a Day challenge was created by Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, who first assumed his position in the Council in 2010. The Challenge was originally created by Rice as a means to get young people involved in local politics and have their voices heard. In an interview with mymcmedia, Rice said:
“As we go into our third year for my Council Member for a Day challenge, I am excited to see what our talented and socially conscious students will submit in terms of issues that are important to them… I want our young people to know they are heard and that their ideas and views matter very much.”
Ganesh explained her own choice of topic for the challenge:
“ I did my essay on kids who are immigrants – legal immigrants… there’s something called an H1B visa, and if your parents don’t get a green card by the time you turn 21, then [ immigration officials ] will send you back to wherever you came from… there are 2000 kids like that [(facing this situation)]- Indian kids like that, but I know there is a greater number of other ([non-Indian)] kids like that. I figured if there was something like DACA for kids who came here illegally, then what about those who came legally as kids and still don’t have control over their situation.”
Ganesh expressed hope that getting to speak with Councilmembers might allow for increased awareness about her issue.

“… I just want to ask them for their opinion on the topic [and] if they had known about it. Because [MoCo Council] is local government, I don’t know if they can address such a big, U.S. [-wide] issue. If they could, it would be nice. So far, what has happened here [in Montgomery County] is that we’ve had rallies, we’ve gone and protested, but there aren’t enough people… My dad had gone, he had protested, but our group was told that there weren’t enough people who had attended to be in the news or have an actual say.”
Come October 24th, Ganesh, along with 9 other MCPS students, will see whether or not they’ve been chosen as the winner.