Folashade Epebinu normally has very full days.
The teenager is not only a Seneca Valley High School senior, but she’s also dual-enrolled at Montgomery College, taking classes in general engineering.
Now, she’s adding another item to her agenda: she’s serving as a Montgomery County Council member — for a day.
Epebinu won the annual contest with her video submission on an issue she cares about: affordable child care.
In her video submission, she walked the halls of Seneca Valley High School and talked about a comment she overheard from a classmate who would have to miss classes to stay home and take care of their younger siblings.
“This wasn’t the first time that they had to leave class or even miss a school day to go watch their younger siblings for their parents,” Epebinu said in the video. “Even I had to leave school on occasion to help my family to watch my younger siblings to offset the price of day care.”
She said it’s an issue that hits close to home for lots of students across the county.
Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando said there were dozens of submissions from students eager to serve as a council member for a day, but Epebinu’s stood out.
“One of the things that caught the staff’s attention; she’s talking about a really, really important issue that we just had a hearing on in the last two weeks,” he said.
In addition, Jawando said Epebinu’s submission “shows what I think is one of the most important attributes of someone who’s doing public policy, [which] is understanding the interconnectedness of issues.”
While she serves on the council Tuesday, Epebinu is able to ask questions of witnesses and even vote on the issues that come before the council.
“Obviously, the vote will be ceremonial, but she will participate,” Jawando said.
The “Councilmember for a Day” program is in its eighth year and was started by former Council member Craig Rice. Jawando is continuing the annual event as chair of the council’s Education and Culture Committee.
Along with serving as a council member for the day, Epebinu will receive a proclamation in her honor and a $100 gift card.