By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer
HUDSON — The day before Hudson High School senior Ilan Levine turned 18, he heard that there were open seats for the School Committee.
It seemed to be a sign. Levine is involved in the district, and over the past school year, he was a frequent figure at School Committee meetings as the committee’s student liaison.
At the time, he also wasn’t sure what his future plans were for college — the COVID-19 vaccination rollout was still up in the air and people didn’t know when things would begin to reopen.
“There really seemed to be a need in the community for a true student voice on the school committee,” Levine said.
On May 10, Hudson voters headed to the polls to elect people to four School Committee seats up for grabs, including a one-year vacant seat that Elizabeth Hallsworth filled on a temporary basis after committee member Rebecca Weksner resigned last year.
Instead of suggesting that other people should run for the seat, Levine threw his hat into the ring and ran unopposed.
Levine handily won after receiving 1,414 votes and joined fellow new School Committee members Molly MacKenzie, Mark Terra-Salomão and Chris Yates for his first official School Committee meeting on May 11.
“I’m looking forward to really informing policy,” Levine said.
Levine boasts background of extra-curricular involvement
Levine is involved at the high school. He’s served as the vice president of the Drama Society, performed with the a cappella group and acted as the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine, The Scribbler.
“I feel like, in a normal year, I would be at the school no matter what, especially with drama rehearsals,” Levine said.
Levine was previously elected by his peers to be the Community Council student liaison to the School Committee.
With the School Committee making important decisions, particularly regarding the district’s COVID-19 response, Levine wanted to be at the table as that student liaison.
As part of his job, he asked questions during the meetings and filled the committee in on the goings-on at the schools.
However, Levine said he couldn’t offer criticism or share his opinion as a student.
“I’m excited to bring that perspective,” he said. “There have been so many calls in this past year about what diversity means and how important it is, and representation matters. I don’t bring racial or ethnic diversity to the school committee, but my diversity really lies in my age, my experience, and I will just have graduated from the district.”
Levine eyes diversity work, budget discussions
Levine hopes to continue the School Committee’s work, particularly on student diversity and inclusion.
“Last summer, [the committee] offered an anti-racism statement, which I think is great,” he said. “I’d love to see us go further with that.”
With the budget being a large portion of the committee’s work, Levine said he was interested in examining the budget with a fine-tooth comb, particularly to reallocate money for clubs that are no longer part of Hudson High School.
“Community members are always willing to fund the school and school system, but they want to know that their taxpayer dollars are going somewhere effective and productive,” Levine said.
The question that the School Committee frequently asks during budget discussions is how will it affect students.
“I think having that direct answer will be invaluable to them,” Levine said.
He hopes his election will inspire other young people to run for public office in Hudson. He encourages other students to register to vote and to read about what the committee is doing.
“Sparking conversation within and among students is powerful,” Levine said.