A hefty slate of candidates has filed for the McLean Community Center (MCC) Governing Board election in May.
But the competition will be exclusively among youth candidates, as the number of adult candidates equals the number of open slots.
MCC officials have certified 12 Dranesville Small District 1A residents to run for five seats on the Governing Board, which sets policy and provides oversight for center’s facilities and programs, including the Alden Theatre and Old Firehouse Teen Center.
The election tentatively is scheduled for its usual venue, McLean Day at Lewinsville Park, on May 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Board members have not canceled or postponed the event yet because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but may end up doing so, said MCC spokesman Sabrina Anwah.
Three candidates have qualified to run for three available adult positions on the board, while nine young people are seeking two youth positions. Winners of the adult election will serve three-year terms, while victors in the youth election – one each from the McLean and Langley high school boundary areas – will serve one-year terms. Youth candidates need not attend these schools to serve on the board.
Here are the adult candidates and their personal statements:
Bill Glikbarg: “I have been active for more than 20 years in various community-theater groups at the fabulous MCC Alden Theatre. I would like to see that the Alden Theatre continues to support shows from community and professional groups for the McLean audiences. Currently, I am treasurer of a not-for-profit active community theater group at The Alden. I am also a past president of a homeowners’ association in the MCC tax district. Hence, I believe I understand the need to balance the financial constraints of the MCC with the need to provide great services to the McLean community.”
Melanie Sletten: “I wish to run for the board of the McLean Community Center. As a volunteer at many local theaters, including The Alden; at the Arlington Food Assistance Center; at special events for the MCC; and as a Master Gardener, I would like to contribute to the well-being of others, both those living today and those yet unborn. As a Methodist, I’m taught to do all the good I can do wherever, whenever, for whomever and however I can. I have some ideas I would like to propose which might better support the center and perhaps more residents within the jurisdiction.”
Barbara Zamora-Appel: “I am a three-year McLean resident with two children attending Churchill Road Elementary. My family and I love the sense of community and particularly enjoy the programs the MCC offers. I believe that my skills and professional work experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors would benefit the MCC. I’ve held numerous volunteer leadership roles with nonprofits to increase stakeholder interests and participation and to help achieve their mission and goals. I can use this experience to advance the goals of the MCC to drive rewarding experiences and a supportive learning environment for people of all ages and abilities.”
These are the youth candidates for the Langley High School Boundary area and their personal statements:
Selina Al-Shihabi: “My name is Selina Al-Shihabi and I’m a student at Langley High School. McLean Community Center has given me countless opportunities. Now, it is my turn to give back to my community. I’m best suited to be your representative because I hold various leadership roles at Langley. Some of my priorities once on the board are: communicating regularly with students; planning exciting new events and trips; and making sure all residents feel part of the McLean community. I would also like to increase student leadership and volunteer opportunities. Allow me to represent you, and I will not let you down.”
Ivy Chen: “I want to run for the Governing Board because I am profoundly interested in setting policies for the community. I am passionate about overseeing and participating in meetings related to the various programs and discussions that will affect our lives. In other words, I want to give back to our society. Beyond my academic life, I enjoy running and participate in a multitude of extracurricular activities. I want to be involved in beneficially changing our community, so therefore, I am also a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee that focuses on protecting our community and making schools a safer environment.”
Maria Kim: “My name is Maria Kim and I am delighted to be a candidate. I have lived in McLean for most of my life now, and it is time to give back to what this community has given to me. I am currently a freshman at Langley and am a part of the robotics club, business and finance, Model UN and the Wind Ensemble. Joining Model UN has undoubtedly improved my public-speaking skills, creating solutions for complex issues and working collaboratively with others. With this, I will put my best foot forward on improving and innovating the McLean community!”
Aidan Nguyen: “I remember watching a speech during the 2016 election, and it awoke an interest in politics inside of me. I continued this throughout higher schooling by doing activities like Model UN and joining political-discussion clubs. When I learned about the election I’m running for, I turned my attention to McLean. McLean has always been part of my life, ever since I could remember. From the various local events, to the sports teams, McLean has provided me with many experiences, opportunities and friends. I am running because I want to repay this gift and give it back to many others.”
Fay Shuai: “My name is Fay Shuai. I’m a junior at Langley High School and I’m thrilled to be given this opportunity to run for the youth board position. Since I could remember, I’ve loved public speaking and ambitiously supporting good causes, and I have an insatiable passion for helping my community. I regularly perform chamber music at senior homes. I’ve spent over 200 hours helping underprivileged kids in Oklahoma and I raised over $1,000 in less than a week to support Wuhan hospitals in combating the coronavirus. If I’m elected, I’ll do everything in my power to better our wonderful district!”
Emily Siryani: “I may not be the most well-known person running for the Governing Board, but I promise to listen to each and every one of you. You matter. Your opinions matter. I have been in the [Student Government Association] position before and I am committed to improve the quality of my community. I am responsible, organized, confident to make decisions and willing to support local students. I have the skill to incorporate the consensus needs and priorities of my community into strong policies. I am dedicated to work towards improving the access to clean drinking water, housing, poverty issues and health disparities.”
Here are the candidates in the McLean High School boundary area and their personal statements:
Tyler Jensen: “I am running for the McLean Community Center Governing Board because I believe I can best represent the interests of my community and will offer potential to the board. I’m qualified for this position because I serve on the Youth Advisory Council that operates under the Safe Community Coalition, and I was elected by my peers to serve on the Committee on Raising Student Voices at McLean High School. I am deeply invested in leadership roles, such as this one, and I strive to give back to the community in any way that I might. Thank you for your consideration.”
Nyla Marcott: “I am a student at McLean High School, running for the Board to support the community and serve you. I feel fortunate to live in a diverse city with a vibrant community center. I will listen and make your voice heard. I participate in the Girls’ Leadership Committee to strengthen my leadership skills and make positive contributions. As a reporter for The Highlander [McLean High’s student newspaper], I research and write about issues of concern to students and our community. I better McLean by ensuring people are included, have a place in the community, and know they are valued. I’d greatly appreciate your vote.”
Sophia Powell: “I am seeking a youth seat on the MCC Board because I am passionate about amplifying youth voices. This year, I have been fortunate to be selected for Youth Leadership Greater Washington, a program designed to train future leaders. Additionally, for the last four years, I’ve been a Leadership Ambassador for She Rocks the World, a local nonprofit focused on empowering girls to use their voices fearlessly. Participation in these programs has inspired me to take a more active role in my community. If elected, I would work hard to represent the concerns of my peers.”
Write-in candidates also may run in the election, but must receive at least 10 votes from 10 residents of the center’s tax district to have their votes counted. For youth write-in candidates, their 10 votes must come from teenagers who live within the same high-school boundary area as the candidate.
In addition to in-person voting on McLean Day, residents also may cast absentee votes, completed ballots and affidavits for which must be received by MCC officials by May 13 at 5 p.m.
For information on the election and the McLean Community Center, see the Website at www.mcleancenter.org.