Q&A with 2020-21 SMOB Zachary Koung

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:49pm

Zachary KoungTell us a bit about yourself (i.e. What school do you attend? What is your favorite subject in school?  What are a couple of your favorite books and/or TV shows? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?).
My name is Zach Koung, I'm a senior at Howard High School. I am a very politically involved individual always trying to learn and better the community. Some recent books I would recommend are "How to be an Antiracist," "Stamped, Racism, Antiracism, and You," and "The Road Less Traveled." Other than reading or watching documentaries to continue learning, I spend my free time protesting for progressive changes, meditating, and spending time outdoors.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Social Justice Warrior

Who are your role models? What qualities of theirs stand out for you?
One significant role model for me is Senator Bernie Sanders. He stands up for what he believes in and knows is right, no matter if it is popular or trending at the time.  

Why do you feel it is important to have a student member/voice on the Board?
As students are the primary stakeholders in their education, it only makes sense to have a representative fight for them. Only students know themselves and their experiences, so they must be represented in their education.
Why do you feel it is important for students to be engaged in their schools?

Students must be engaged in their schools; students understand their experience and can provide valuable insights into their own education that teachers and administrators can not. Students are instrumental in bringing up important issues and then proposing innovative solutions.

What issue(s) do you think are top of mind for HCPSS students right now?
Especially with the social unrest and the COVID-19 crisis right now, students are really focused on racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality, increasing mental health services, and financial literacy/life skills training.
What do you see as the top issues facing the Board of Education at this time?

I think a significant issue facing the BOE is social justice - racial and LGBTQ+ equity and with the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus, it highlights the need for financial literacy training in our schools.

What are you most looking forward to about serving as the Student Member?
I am looking forward to fighting for the changes that students want and need to see in Howard County. Including fighting for a racially and LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum, advocating for the inclusive language in classrooms and policy, fighting to end segregation and systemic racism in our schools.

As SMOB, you are charged with representing the student voice on the Board. How do you plan to engage with your fellow students and hear their thoughts/concerns in the coming year? What is the best way for them to communicate with you?
With the high likelihood of the next school year being affected by the coronavirus, I think a great way to get students involved and hear their stories, questions, and concerns is through social media.
What advice do you have for students who wish to get more involved in their schools and the district?
It’s never too late to make a difference, the change starts with us! Join your school's Student Government Association (SGA), the Howard County Associations of Student Councils (HCASC), and other clubs! We must be a part of the change we need to see in this county.

Read Zach Koung's bio.