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Northwest High School student Adjo Evonlah will experience what it’s like to be a councilmember on Feb. 25

For Immediate Release: Friday, February 21, 2020

Councilmember Craig Rice developed the Councilmember for a Day challenge to give students the opportunity to learn about local government, public policy and leadership

ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 21, 2019—On Tuesday, Feb. 25, Councilmember Craig Rice will host Northwest High School student Adjo Evonlah as an honorary councilmember. 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 Youth Town Hall reception at Wheaton High School on Nov. 13. Nine other finalists also were recognized at the reception.

Ms. Evonlah will start her day at the Council with a breakfast reception in her honor with councilmembers, Board of Education members, representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools and council staff. Then she will participate in a Montgomery County Council meeting and attend all of the other meetings held by Councilmember Rice on Tuesday.

This is the fourth consecutive year for the Councilmember for a Day challenge. Councilmember Rice asked middle and high school students to submit 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 through legislation, conversations and 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.”

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, earned second place with her essay focused on the impact of student loan debt and the need to create pathways to scholarships for high school students. Sarah Bagheri, from Cabin John Middle School, came in third place with her 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.
Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Councilmember for a Day challenge. To apply, students should go to: https://tinyurl.com/cm4aday2020 .
The deadline to apply is April 3, 2020.


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Release ID: 20-053
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Daniela Moya-Geber 240-777-7955