SMOB nominating convention involves PHS junior, results in two finalists


Rachel Ryan, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, middle and high schoolers of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) flocked to Watkins Mill High School to narrow down this year’s final two candidates for Student Member of the Board of Education, known colloquially as the ‘SMOB.’ It was a hectic event, with candidates delivering speeches that caused the crowd to break out in chants and others receiving penalties due to foul play and misconduct. In the end, the two finalists selected were: Kennedy junior Nate Tinbite and Clarksburg junior Zoe Tishraev.

The nominating convention is an event hosted by the Montgomery County SGA that is publicly announced and offered attendance for every public high and middle school. Each school is allocated delegates and receive voting privileges. Not only was Poolesville HS SGA present in voting this year, but junior Ethan Groboski was one of 13 candidates running for SMOB.

Groboski has been Class of 2020 President since freshman year, and is involved in activism and grassroots politics activities outside of school.

The convention kicked off with the speeches round, where each candidate had four minutes to pitch whatever message they wanted the audience to know in attempts to garner enough votes to pass to the next round. In this first round, two candidates were penalized with a shortened speaking time due to misconduct during their campaign, and another was cut off by the moderators in the middle of his speech due to inappropriate subject matter that bashed a prior SMOB. This moment was met by uproar from the crowd, as were many other speeches. Tishraev, a finalist from Clarksburg High School, captured the crowd’s approving cheers with a speech filled with bold ideas centered around a failing school system.

“Food, water, shelter… these are three basic needs that MCPS is currently failing to meet,” she cried.

Another crowd pleaser was finalist Nate Tinbite. Tinbite is the president of the Montgomery County SGA, and is publicly known for his heavy role in the March for Our Lives protest. He pushes for a high level of student interaction and involvement when it comes to his constituents, and his support from the audience was apparent as the crowd burst into applause every time he took the stage.

“Students can only be interested in the picture if they are a part of it,” said Tinbite, during his speech.

After the first round, the convention took a recess to narrow down the field of candidates from 13 to seven. Those who were attending as delegates cast their votes and the candidates took the stage again for a the second round. In round two, each candidate was asked the same set of three questions and then given 30 seconds to make a conclusion speech. The questions detailed experience and background for the candidates. After another round of voting, the final two, Tinbite and Tishraev, were announced to the audience.

When making the decision of who to push through to the countywide voting, delegates had varying criteria. Poolesville SGA President Grace Kim spoke on her strategy.

“I chose my vote by who seemed like a true leader and had passion to change the community,” she explained. Additionally, Watkins Mill President Hava Tsarni said that she too was looking for a leader.

“When voting, I was looking for someone with not only unique and important ideas, but someone who I felt had the confidence and experience to execute them,” comments Tsarni.

The next voting round will be countywide to select next year’s Student Member of the Board. Every Montgomery County middle and high school student will get the opportunity to vote on Wednesday, April 24 in their respective schools.