Hannah Morin runs her SMOB campaign on learning, mental health, environmental education, testing


graphic by Caroline Hobson

SMOB candidate Hannah Morin visited each high school in Frederick County to give a small speech through her Instagram when the election opened January 6.

by Madeline Hull, Editor In Chief

Junior Hannah Morin is running for Student Member of the Board (SMOB) for Frederick County Public Schools. If elected Morin will attend Board of Education meetings and express student concerns. Each student running is basing their campaign on a platform. Morin has four main ideas interwoven into her campaign:

“The loss of learning. So when I start training my platform it was like months and obviously, covid has gotten really bad recently so there’s a chance of us going virtually. How are we going to try and keep kids in school because I think a lot of us can agree that we get a better education here than we do online. After virtual how can we make that better how can be increased in interaction and how can we monitor the younger students, the Elementary School students make sure they’re staying on grade for reading and writing levels because that’s a big issue because of high schoolers I know we don’t exactly want to attend online classes every day but change my computer I like there was a big loss of learning and instruction. My platform is how can we test schools to try and see where they’re at, and how can you do individualize and personalized resources to address these gaps in their education.”

“Mental health. This would reflect upon what the board has done so far as mental health and how can we get more effective resources. Last year we had our social-emotional learning but how can we find a better way to get resources at our house school in-between ages and then advocate for staff training about recognizing the signs. I would advocate for more school counselors and more therapists in schools to create more personalized connections. Here at Linganore we only have 4 or 5 counselors, and I mean that’s crazy that they can’t be responsible for our emotions, class changes, and college preparedness. We need a new therapist in our schools and psychologists.”

“Environment. I’ve been researching between two reusable utensils that’s going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consumption in our school system.”

“Standardized testing.” Just a reduction of standardized testing in high school and there’s plenty of studies out there. . . it is not really beneficial to us a lot of stress cause a lot of anxiety session at high schools were already taking AP exams and SATS’s. 

How has Morin prepared for this leadership role?

‘I’ve been class president through high school, and  I’ve tried reach-out because a lot of students are even getting that are at the events that we do for SMOB all ready advocate for themselves and they already like they’re already bring issues to attention so they explain. Being class president has taught me is do I need to reach out to all students in Frederick County, not just those already interested in student government.”

What does SMOB mean to Morin?

“I first knew that I wanted to run for the student member of the board when I was in middle school  I went to the Town Hall Forum in Downtown Frederick and I was just so inspired by how the people were that were running well spoken they were giving their speeches and answering questions. I’ve always loved student leadership . . . I knew from then that I was going to run my junior year.”

What are some concerns that Morin wants to discuss with the Board of Education?

“I support the Board’s current position of masks in schoo,l but with the updated mask policy a lot of it boils down to personal responsibility. That’s a big issue right now because the Board can say something, but if it’s not being carried out through schools, that’s where the issues comes from. Covid cases are rising, and I would like to think that as regards to [the possibility of ] school shutting down, it will kind of able students to keep their masks on and contacting schools if they were exposed with COVID-19.  It’s all about educating students.”

“Schools need to continue following up and making sure that we’re being precautionary and reactionary to certain threats. Students feeling unsafe in schools is unacceptable, no matter what the issues is.”

What is your position on mental health days?

“Obviously students could abuse that and use it as a way to skip school, and I can see that being an arguments for why we shouldn’t do it. Personally, I would support that [Mental Health Days] because I think students are going to find a way either way. . . I think it’s a great way to destigmatize mental health [issues].”   

How would Morin improve student participation?

“For the election I have been utilizing social media (@hannah4smobfcps). I follow people and contact people I can I reached out to. . . I’ve met with different high school students. We are an online world. Everything we do is online. Right now social media is really what I plan to utilize, but, that being said, I represent everyone–middle schoolers, elementary schoolers–so it would be about going on school visits and talking to school SGAs at their level and at PTSAs at the elementary school level.”

How does Morin plan to represent all students, even those with language barriers?

“Honestly, that is such a great question. I definitely think I need to start putting out my resources in Spanish, too, because you’re right. There is a language difference within Frederick County, and it does need to be addressed.”

“For the differently abled student body, it’s about speaking to the teachers that work the special education programs.”  

“I touched base on a mental-health committee, but I also want to create a committee that focuses on diversity between students as well as a SMOB advisory committee that allows me to be connecting with students on issues that I couldn’t speak of.  I haven’t had the same experience as everyone in this room has, so it’s really important to continue to connect with the students to form relationships within the county and represent everyone. “

“That’s one of my strengths. I would describe myself as a very personal person. I love to go out and meet new people. I love to form connections with people. It’s really just about reaching out to as many different groups of people as I can. Expanding your social group is really important, especially for being SMOB, because obviously I want to advocate for all the students in Frederick County.”

What does Morin expect next year?

“You really are in the spotlight. If I was like lucky enough to be voted into the next student member of the board, I would expect a lot of contact with parents, especially if Covid is still a raging issue in July, which it most likely could be. It is really just sticking up for the students and advocating for what they want to do, even if I’m getting angry parent emails. That’s the role of the SMOB is being an advocate for the students.”

What are Morin’s future plans?

“I have considered doing something in government. . . I want to go to major in international relations. I really love the economy and the world. Being the SMOB will open a new perspective on what a life in government and politics would look like, so I’m definitely curious to see if that’ll if that’s what I want to do with my life.”

What should students be most concerned about?

“Whatever the issues are in their schools. The issues we have at Linganore are not going to be the same as the issues in Oakdale Middle school. I just want students to be advocating for themselves. We know the issues that we face every day, and I think people should take  personal responsibility for themselves and others.”

What makes Morin different that other candidates?

“I’m a very optimistic person, and I think that’s important in this world. The Board of Education is under a spotlight right now, and that is a lot to deal with, but it is something personally I know that I could do. I know I could deal with the backlash and still advocate for the students.”