Clarksburg High School student Dahlia Huh elected to Montgomery County school board

Thousands of Montgomery County high school students cast ballots for school board candidates this week, electing a teenager from Clarksburg High School as next year’s student board member.

Dahlia Huh, a junior who lives in Germantown, pulled in 69 percent of the vote, overwhelming opponent Calvin Yeh, a junior at Poolesville High School, who had 31 percent. In all, 77 percent of secondary students cast ballots.

“This means everything to me,” Huh said in an interview Thursday evening. “I’m just so grateful and so honored that people voted for me.”

Huh’s victory came on her 17th birthday.

Starting July 1, she will take the student seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education, replacing Justin Kim, a senior at Poolesville High School.

Huh said she and her opponent agreed on the issues facing students, and she called for more technology and less homework and for finding solutions for overcrowded schools and the achievement gap.

During her campaigning, Huh visited students at about 60 Montgomery County middle and high schools to talk about her priorities and hear student concerns, she said.

She said she would like the school system to adopt a policy allowing students to bring their own devices — such as iPads and smartphones — to class for educational purposes. “Learning would be much more effective and efficient,” she said.

The student board member serves a one-year term and votes on many issues but not on such matters as boundary changes, operating and capital budgets, collective bargaining, certain personnel decisions and school closings.

One of Huh’s strongest interests is expanding voting rights so that student board members have a more equal say in matters under consideration. “I think it’s really important,” she said.

Huh has been active in student government at her schools and in districtwide organizations. She is vice president of the Student Government Association at Clarksburg High School and secretary of the Montgomery Regional SGA.

She was also a member of a district work group created to examine the possibility of later high school start times.

Last October, Superintendent Joshua P. Starr offered a proposal to delay the start of high school to 8:15 a.m., an issue that goes to the school board in June. Classes at Montgomery’s 25 high schools now start at 7:25 a.m.

Huh says she wants to hear more about the effects of shifting start times before giving the question a thumbs-up or down. Still, she said, “I think it’s really good that attention has been brought to the issue.”

While there is no pay for the job, the student member of the board receives a $5,000 college scholarship, student service learning hours and an honors-level social studies credit, school officials said.

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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