Students Elect River Hill’s Anna Selbrede to Replace Wilde Lake’s Griffin Diven as HoCo SMOB



Griffin Diven interviews Anna Selbrede for the SMOB election video.

Hope Kahn

“Many Students, one voice” is said boldly in the candidate video shown every April in Howard County Middle and High Schools as students cast their vote for the new Student Member of the Board.

The SMOB is granted a seat on the Howard County Board of Education to give a voice to students. They participate in all discussions and get a vote in every decision.

Wilde Lake senior Griffin Diven was SMOB for the 2016-2017 school year. On April 26th, River Hill junior Anna Selbrede was elected SMOB for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.

Diven chose to run for SMOB because he has always been interested in student government, politics, and education. “When I saw the idea presented to me that I could be on the board, I thought it was a really cool idea,” he said.

Being SMOB has taught Diven professional skills in the form of interacting with adults and students, as well as how to balance his schedule.

According to Diven, being SMOB for only a year makes it difficult to make a difference on everything that he wanted to. However, it is possible to start to chip away at an issue or policy. “For things like school start times and policies, I’ve been able to voice the student opinion,” said Diven.

As SMOB, Diven was able to speak up and make a difference in an issue involving transgender student rights while working with a board member. Diven spearheaded a reconfirmation to make sure everyone in the county and everyone was aware of it.

One of the most rewarding outcomes of being SMOB is the influence you have on students in the county. “When students tell me I inspire them and they want to be SMOB when they’re older it’s a really great feeling,” said Diven.

On July 1st, Anna Selbrede will be sworn in as the new SMOB.

Selbrede was encouraged to run because she believes it is the best way to make a positive change for HCPSS students. “As a student serving in leadership positions at school, I hear comments and feedback on what’s happening right now,” said Selbrede. “I know being SMOB is one way to make sure that feedback reaches the Board and can lead to positive change when necessary.”

During Selbrede’s candidacy, she visited all 35 middle and high schools in the county and education centers to put up her posters advertising her candidacy. She then visited student groups from middle school art clubs to high school honor societies at about 30 of the 35 schools. “It was really cool to meet so many different students and explain how I want to ensure they are represented,” said Selbrede.

Selbrede’s three main goals for SMOB this upcoming year is to address school atmospheres (diversity, stress, and mental health), communicate with the students especially about board decisions, and to represent the students effectively and efficiently.

“I want to speak to the student body at all 35 middle and high schools and education centers throughout the year. I also want to establish a SMOB Advisory Council so I can have input from all students around the county,” she said. A SMOB Advisory Council would allow student representatives from the schools across the county to input their opinion on different issues.

Diven will help transition Selbrede into her position as SMOB. “When Anna won I congratulated her and told her ‘I’m here for you and let’s get this learning curve out of the way,’” said Diven.

Being SMOB can be contentious, rewarding, and can truly have a lot of impact on the county. To those who want to run for SMOB in the future, Diven advises them to “just make sure you have the student’s best interest at heart!”