SMOB candidate Richard Banach is a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
This article is the sixth part in a series of personal interviews with the six SMOB candidates for the 2015–2016 academic year. Candidates were interviewed by MoCo Student staff writers Kaamiya Hargis and Matthew Zipf. You can learn more about current SMOB Dahlia Huh, as well as SMOB elections and responsibilities here. All interviews have been edited for both length and clarity.
ZIPF: The diversity of Montgomery County, in both its opportunities and population, has translated to an open-minded approach to education. Can you share any specific ways in which the area has impacted who you are as a person?
I didn’t grow up in Montgomery County, I actually grew up in Manhattan, and that’s also a very diverse area. I feel like the transition to here and seeing similar levels of diversity, it has made me a more open-minded person.
HARGIS: Could you elaborate with any particular examples?
It’s more of just having all types of friends, it opens you up to your opinions of things. For example, going to school with people of different religions will probably make you more of a respectful person, rather than someone who later in life meets someone of a different religion. And that’s for race, religion, and other social issues as well.
HARGIS: What drives your ambitions, both inside and outside of student government?
So, in the future I want to be a politician or work for a politician, and in college I plan to go into political science. It’s more of just the first step to becoming a politician.
Outside of student government, I’m competitive. I play sports, and all kinds of competitions—I play chess, I do sports, I’m running for this. It’s more of just a thirst for competition, and that’s what drives me.
ZIPF: What do you value most in a SMOB, and how will you embody those values?
What I value most in a SMOB is its ability to bring up ideas to the Board. The Board, besides SMOB, they don’t really have any connections to the students, and the importance of SMOB is that it can make those connections and give ideas. It can relay how the students feel.
HARGIS: Can you discuss your thoughts on school start times and why that’s such an important issue for you?
I actually have personal experience. Recently, I had a concussion, and I was incredibly über-tired doing homework and the next day going to school, having basketball practice. I felt really unbalanced and tired, and I think it was really good what the county decided to do, to push back school start times, because it gives you more time for your mind to rest, especially with the national problem of students’ health.
HARGIS: Can you tell us a little about your experience with student government?
Honestly, I don’t have too much experience. It’s more that I’m a regular student, that’s my experience—I have the connections to all different types of students, and I feel that that qualifies me more than someone who is just into student government, where all they do is student government.
ZIPF: Finally, the best SMOBs leave behind a legacy (for instance, John Mannes formed the MoCo Student). What mark do you plan to leave on the county?
The mark I want to leave is making school more enjoyable. I don’t know if you saw some of my Facebook posts, but a lot of them have to do with curricula and certain things that schools don’t really focus on. They should focus on education, but there are other issues in the school that schools don’t address, such as certain curricula and credit systems.
I want my legacy to be fixing these minor issues that make school slightly more enjoyable and, in a sense, putting students in a better mood when they go back to class. I talked to my friends and other people about what they want from the school, and a lot of them are talking about P.E. credits and how the whole P.E. system works, and that’s obviously not a big thing on the Board’s mind, but I think that if certain little things are fixed, people will find school more enjoyable.