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Press Releases - County Council

Northwest High School student Adjo Evonlah named Councilmember for a Day

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 21, 2019

From the Office of Councilmember Rice

Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice developed contest to provide students the opportunity to learn about local government, public policy and leadership

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 21, 2019—Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice selected Adjo Evonlah from Northwest High School in Germantown as the winner of his Councilmember for a Day challenge. Councilmember Rice, who chairs the Council’s Education and Culture Committee, developed the challenge as a way for young people to become more engaged in public policy issues, learn about local government and become more involved with the community. Councilmember Rice announced the winner at the Council’s second Youth Town Hall reception at Wheaton High School on Nov. 13. Nine other finalists also were recognized at the reception.

This is the fourth consecutive year for the Councilmember for a Day challenge. Councilmember Rice asked middle and high school students to submit YouTube videos or written essays answering the following questions:

  • In your opinion, what is the most important public policy issue facing young people today? What suggestions do you have for national, state and local leaders to address this issue?

Ms. Evonlah’s winning entry was an essay focused on vaping/juuling among high school students and she proposed to put an end to it by creating legislation, through conversations, and through creating safe spaces. Her essay can be viewed here.

“The Councilmember for a Day challenge is a great way for our students to advocate for the issues they care about directly to the elected officials that serve them. This year’s winner, Adjo Evonlah, wrote her essay on the rising vape epidemic among youth, reflecting the community’s overwhelming concern on this issue and why the Council has recently introduced legislation to limit access to vape products for minors. I look forward to continue working with our young people and making strides to address their issues as reflected in this year’s Councilmember for a Day challenge and beyond,” said Councilmember Rice. 

Outreach for the contest was conducted through social media and in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools. Ms. Evonlah will shadow Councilmember Rice for a full Council day on a later date that will be determined soon.

In addition to the winner, Adjo Evonlah, nine other students were selected as finalists based on the quality and creativity of their entries. Angela Yu, from Thomas S. Wootton High School, came in at second place with an essay focused on lifting the heavy weight of student loans by creating pathways to scholarships for high school students, awarding grants to college graduates for achievements to pay off existing loans, and by providing better information about student loans to high school and college students. Sarah Bagheri, from Cabin John Middle School, came in at third place with an essay focused on expanding health education to inform students of the effects of vaping/juuling.

The other finalists were (in alphabetical order by last name):

  • Omotola Fadeyi, Paint Branch High School, Entry Subject: school stress/mental health in school;
  • Jack Feldman, Bullis School, Entry Subject: pressure and stress of social media/phone use;
  • Darshini Babu Ganesh, Poolesville High School, Entry Subject: climate change;
  • Alex Landy, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Entry Subject: gun violence in schools/the community;
  • Namya Nanda, Richard Montgomery High School, Entry Subject: child poverty;
  • Dhruv Pai, Montgomery Blair High School, Entry Subject: gun violence in schools/the community; and
  • Eleanor Sun, Bullis School, Entry Subject: opioids crisis/epidemic.

A video clip from the reception for the Councilmember for a Day finalists can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 19-367
Media Contact: Sharon Ledner 240-777-7951 , Nicole Rodriguez 240-777-7947