Student Turned Politician: 18-Year-Old Elected To NY School Board

A New York high school senior is going from the classroom to the boardroom - the school boardroom that is.

West Islip High School senior Quinn Bedell, age 18, was elected to the West Islip Board of Education on Tuesday, May 16.
West Islip High School senior Quinn Bedell, age 18, was elected to the West Islip Board of Education on Tuesday, May 16. Photo Credit: Facebook/Quinn Bedell

Long Island’s Quinn Bedell, an 18-year-old senior at West Islip High School, was elected to the West Islip Board of Education as a write-in candidate in the election held Tuesday, May 16.

“I would like to thank the West Islip community for choosing me to be a trustee on the Board of Education. I am truly honored,” Bedell wrote on Facebook Wednesday, May 17.

“I could not have done this without the overwhelming support of this community. I am forever grateful to every one of you and I promise to do my best and make you proud.”

Bedell, currently the vice president of West Islip High’s PTSA, was elected alongside Anthony Tussie and Christina Marks for three at-large seats, according to the district’s website

Writing on Facebook, Bedell explained that he was listed as a write-in candidate because he missed the filing deadline after experiencing a moment of self-doubt.

“To be honest, there was one fleeting and regretful moment where I became discouraged- which really isn’t like me, but I thought ‘can I even win this?’” he said.

“The deadline passed but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to do this, so after lots of thought I decided to throw my hat in the ring.”

Bedell said he was inspired to run for the school board position following the death of his friend, Tom Compitello, a former West Islip teacher and school board member.

"I can’t wait to keep that spirit in our town and to try to fill those (very large) shoes," he said in a post on May 6. "We need that energy and enthusiasm now more than ever. I have it."

The teen told supporters on Facebook that he has “no agenda” heading into his new position, though he came out in support of having armed security guards on school grounds in a prior post.

“I know I feel that having armed security guards (Concealed) would help me to feel safer. I have also spoken to friends and even some teachers who feel the same way,” he wrote in a post on May 3.

“Knowing there are trained professionals on site who are prepared to respond to an emergency can help ease anxiety and create a more positive learning experience.”

During his time on the PTSA, Bedell said he has focused on student safety, vaping, posting of grades, substitute teacher matters, and parking issues.

He also “fought hard” to have the Pledge of Allegiance recited each day in the high school, he said.

Outside of the classroom, the teen touts himself as a business owner, running his own landscaping company, Q-Man's Landscaping, according to his Facebook page.

“My first client, who thankfully could see my entrepreneurial spirit so early on, set me on track to a successful business where I now serve 60 clients and manage 4 employees (all from West Islip),” he said.

“I have been able to manage my finances, employees, clients and schoolwork successfully because of my dedication and work ethic. With thoughtfulness and consideration, I can and will tackle any issue.”

Bedell is set to begin his freshman year at SUNY Farmingdale this fall, where he plans on majoring in Horticultural Technology Management. 

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