The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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May 21, 2024

Clarksburg High School junior Praneel Suvarna wins 2024-2025 SMOB election

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Suvarna’s one-year term will begin on July 1, replacing Richard Montgomery High School Senior Sami Saeed, the 2023-2024 MCPS SMOB.

On April 17, approximately 60,000 MCPS middle and high school students voted Clarksburg High School junior Praneel Suvarna as the 2024-2025 MCPS Student Member of the Board (SMOB). Suvarna received 53% of the vote, while runner-up Sam Ross received 47% of total votes, according to an MCPS press release. 

Suvarna’s one-year term will begin on July 1, replacing Richard Montgomery High School senior Sami Saeed, the 2023-2024 MCPS SMOB. 

Suvarna currently serves as Vice President of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association and Junior Class President of the Clarksburg High School Student Government Association (SGA). He has also worked as the Field Organization Director for Moco4Change, a student advocacy organization. 

Suvarna’s campaign centered around promoting school safety, combating the drug crisis and implementing comprehensive mental health support systems in all schools. In his candidate profile, he emphasized ensuring equitable distribution of resources across the county and listening to students directly. 

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“I’ve witnessed firsthand the disparities in education within our county,” Suvarna said on his candidate profile. “My goal is to ensure that your voices, as students, are heard.”

Ross is a junior at Montgomery Blair High School and currently serves as Chief of Staff for Saeed. Prior to the election, students heard from both Suvarna and Ross through live debates and by reading campaign profiles.

Walt Whitman High School Class President Zalina Bell struggled to decide who to vote for because both candidates were extremely qualified, she said. 

“I think Praneel’s policies reflect a lot of what the students want to see, but Samantha is very experienced and it seems like she’s going to get a lot done,” Bell said. 

Following the announcement of the results of the SMOB election, Ross posted a statement to her Instagram account encouraging students to apply to Suvarna’s SMOB Advisory Council and stay engaged with his work.

Senior Marcus Hallisey believed Praneel Suvarna was the better candidate due to his unique plans and policies. 

“He has a lot of experience from what he has said in the debates,” Hallisey said. “I thought his policies were different from the promises that other SMOBs make, and I thought that made him stand out.”

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