Adiba Chowdhury represents diversity among students
OneBlair co-president. Youth leader of a local Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA) chapter. Former Student Government Association (SGA) president at Eastern Middle School. And now, Student Member of the Board (SMOB) candidate. Since middle school, junior Adiba Chowdhury has chased her passion for change and community advocacy as a student leader.
Chowdhury's enthusiasm for humanitarian issues faced opposition from her parents when she was younger. Despite her parents' efforts to pressure her to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Chowdhury found herself more interested in the humanities. Her brother, in contrast, was a 2016 Blair Magnet graduate, an outstanding student and STEM aficionado.
A strong supporter of Chowdhury's decision to run for SMOB, her brother told her that she didn't have to be a straight-A STEM star in order to succeed in life— a message Chowdhury says she "needed to hear." She was emboldened to run after recognizing the achievement gap and unequal distribution of opportunities and resources among students.
Chowdhury wanted to provide more resources for her peers after seeing her friends stay up until 1:00 a.m. finishing homework and hearing classmates express fear about joining classes because of their stilted English. "I intend to re-prioritize what MCPS has in mind. We have to set the needs of students over funding this and that, because we are here to ensure that every student has the right environment to succeed," she says.
To close the achievement gap, Chowdhury hopes to reform in-school suspension by providing students with tutoring and Chromebooks to ensure that they are less likely to fall into the school-to-prison pipeline. Other goals she has in mind include minimizing the importance of standardized testing; providing the magnet application test to all third, fifth and eighth grade students; expanding elective options and creating career pathway programs for students who don't intend to go to college.
Chowdhury's platform also focuses on obtaining resources for immigrant students who require English for Speakers of Other Languages, modernizing the infrastructure in technology, making sure that physical and mental health are prioritized and empowering students through student advocacy. "I have always been someone who wants to ensure that everyone I meet has an opportunity to share what they want to say," Chowdhury says.
Junior Hailey Mitchell works on Chowdhury's campaign and spreads her message by producing promotional videos and managing her social media. "I've been friends with Adiba since elementary school, and I've always known her as such a kind, dedicated, hard-working person," she says.
Chowdhury, who describes herself as "determined, stubborn and passionate," has shown her strong devotion to student advocacy through various positions in the community. As the Montgomery County Regional SGA's Educational Policy Deputy, she proposes and works on policies that students support. She also supports young Muslim women in debate tournaments and helps them practice public speaking as a MUNA chapter head.
Chowdhury says she developed her biggest strength, being open and able to understand different perspectives, by listening to Blair's diverse voices as OneBlair co-president. She has organized events focusing on student advocacy and facilitating communication among the student body, such as Blair Interracial Dialogue Week. She also recently hosted a OneBlair dialogue on the December Silver Chips Print article "Do CAP and Magnet benefit the student body?” to encourage discussion between program and non-program students. "We talked about why program and academy students are so divided and what we as a school can do to fix these issues and ensure that no one group is isolated," she says.
Chowdhury has demonstrated her commitment to the interest of all students, especially those who are typically underrepresented. "I feel that [Chowdhury's] experience as a Muslim woman of color makes her platform unique from others, since she understands students' problems from a different perspective," Mitchell says.
As a junior in high school, Chowdhury has already devoted numerous hours to student advocacy and community service. She vows to bring her experience and determination to the table as SMOB and create tangible change for students across Montgomery County.
Sophia Lucarelli. staff writer More »
Emmy Song. Hi! I'm Emmy and I'm a senior at Blair. I am excited to serve as one of SCO's Editors-in-Chief this year. When I'm not working on SCO, I can be found solving math problems, curating Spotify playlists, or watching the sun set. More »