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Q&A with Board of Education Student Rep Panashe Mutombo

The Patterson Mill High School senior is this year's student representative.

 senior  was sworn in as Harford County Board of Education's 25th student representative Monday evening.

Mutombo steps into the role as the county's first student representative with partial voting rights.

He was able to employ those rights Monday by voting in favor of the school system's . The teen says he looks forward to representing Harford County's student body anyway he can. 

Patch was able to sit down with Mutombo at Monday's board meeting.

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PATCH: How often is your name mispronounced by other students and friends?

Mutombo: It takes a little bit of time to get accustomed to my name. Other people get it right off the bat. I give them this rule, if you can say my name once, correctly, I will let them give me a nickname. Whatever is easiest for them. Usually people do get it right. The nicknames really never stick.

PATCH: What are you plans to effectively balance school work, extra-curricular activities, and being Harford County School Student Representative?

Mutombo: Now it (student representative) is priority number one. I mean I play a lot of things, football. As of right now, I have practice going on, but I told my coach and he understands my priorities. If practice goes over, I need to be at that board by 6 p.m. every time. Everything else comes second. It's board, my grades, and then all my extra-curricular activities because it's a commitment to all the students and they are trusting me to do my job correctly and I take that very seriously.

PATCH: What advice, if any, have you received from the board's 2011-2012 Student Representative Anthony Cofrancesco?

Mutombo: Tony and I have a very tight relationship. We have hung out multiple times outside meetings and board meetings. We've talked about many things. In fact, he helped me create a pamphlet or little guide book of guidelines to pass down to other board members. He didn't have to do that. He also helped me start things off very well and understand everything. He encouraged me at the board meetings. I look at him as a very good inspirataion. 

PATCH: What does it mean to have Patterson Mill High school representated on the Board of Education?

Mutombo: It means alot and we are a very small underated school. I feel a lot of pride to show that my school is capable and taken seriously just like any other school and I'm just proud to represent the Huskies.

PATCH: If you could make one major impact while being student representative, what would it be? Whether it helps your individual school or county wide.

Mutombo: I'm looking at a whole lot of things right now. You just gave me that one question that has been plaguing me everyday. I think the one thing that I want approved is a certain awareness in student clubs. I'm seeing through each of the schools, by talking to other students, things like Key Club or National Honor Society are at certain degrees or mandates in some schools. Maybe I can get approved that these schools need to have one, two, three clubs initiated so that it would really give them the adversity and the richness and expose students to certain things. Because you know, I'm in a lot of clubs and some students would say, "Wow I wish I had that at my school." So, a certain requirement of clubs in all schools. The student shouldn't be deprived.

PATCH: If you could make one major fictious fun impact in the schools, what would that be?

Mutombo: Wow, something crazy. You know Cheesecake Factory and how they have their multiple cheesecakes. I was in New York and they had a vending machine of frozen cheesecakes from Cheesecake Factory. It would be a little treat for students in the hallway. If they could get that, it would be a dream of mine. It would be gourmet eating at school.

PATCH: What do your friends think of you being Harford County Student Representative?

Mutombo: My friends think I'm crazy. They're like, are you going to hang out with us and I'll say 'I'll hang out with you, but this is what I love to do.' They all know that I like to push the envelope. A lot of them are supportive, very supportive and a lot of them even tried to join and wanted to know how to get involved. Some of them have mixed views, but in all, most of them are supportive and proud of what I'm doing. A little sad that I can't see them everytime on the weekends, but this is what I do.

PATCH: What are some of your hobbies?

Mutombo: I love to sing. I'm in the All-County chorus, All-State competitions. I play sports. I love volunteering through my Key club and National Honor Society, that's why I'm passionate about it, soup kitchens and just helping out the community. I love doing that on Saturday and Sundays for an hour or two. I love reading.

PATCH: The reading doesn't include "Fifty Shades of Grey" does it?

Mutombo: I rather not. It's a plague that has entered the house already. I tell my mom to keep that to herself.

PATCH: What are your future plans?

Mutombo: Right now I'm in the process of early addmissions to Georgetown. I'm working very hard to get there. I want to stay in D.C. and I love political science. Whether it's Georgetown or another school, I just want to major in something in politics and further my governmental reach on my community and schools.

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