18-year-old elected to school board

May 6, 2008 3:28:48 PM PDT
At 18-years-old, he's already making history. An NYU freshman just graduated from high school last spring, and now, he's serving as a member of the Holmdel school board.

He received the most votes of any of the candidates wanting seats on the board.

It was just last spring that Mike Collins graduated from Holmdel High School.

"Right now, we're sitting in the high school; I'm obviously no longer a student here, but I've seen the inside of the entire school system and I have a perspective from the inside-out," said Collins.

And based on that pitch to local voters, the 18-year-old was sworn-in as the youngest member in the history of the holmdel school board.

Collins adds, "I welcomed the challenge because I thought it was really worthwhile and luckily it paid off."

Now a freshman at NYU, Mike was a high school t.v. producer and show host. A school trophy case is full of awards that he helped win. He spoke at school board meetings long before becoming a board member.

But it took more than that to convince the voters that an 18 year old should be a full-fledged member of a school board responsible for a budget of about $50 million.

Mike's campaign was managed by John Blakeslee, who is Holmdel High School's senior class president.

"We did it through social networking online, campaign fundraising online, and then just traditional politics, as well. It was knocking on doors, going to debates, getting out the vote and then just talking to the people and listening. I think that's the key. You've got to listen," said Blakeslee.

Mike was the top vote-getter among three candidates who won seats on the board.

"He probably will have a perspective that we may not have, and this will serve us," says Barbara Duncan, the Holmdel Superintendent.

Collins went on to say, "I thought I had to overcome some sort of burden being an 18-year-old, running, I had to prove myself, and I plan to bring that energy to the board itself."

Mike's three-year term is underway.