By: Julian Brenman ‘20, Co-Editor-In-Chief 3-29-18
You’ve seen him happily wandering the halls, proudly sporting his “Phoenix” gear on the varsity fields, and talking to many different members of the community on each of the 23 beautiful acres of our magnificent campus. Starting on April 28th, however, you’ll see Nathan Levitties ’19 in a whole new light, as he will be entering office as Student Council President. Since it was announced that Nathan would take the helm of Student Council, he has been working tirelessly to prepare for what he hopes will be an “incredible” twelve months.
Nathan recalls what it was like on the day he learned he would take the helm of Student Council: “I was obviously ecstatic about the fact that I was voted president. I couldn’t hold that to myself. I had to tell Frankie.” While Nathan was rejoicing, he kept in mind the feelings of Kalila Jones ‘19 and McKenna Blinman ‘19, his presidential opponents. He shares, “I tried to be excited while noticing that it wasn't going to be fun for the other two. I wanted to focus on working together with Kalila and McKenna. I sent both of them texts, and I had conversations with the two of them, encouraging them to continue working to become vice presidents. I wanted work with them, and I’m so happy I get to, because more recently, it was announced that they will both be vice presidents of council, along with Anna Comstock ‘19. This past year, we had a little bit of a different situation, because some of the people who actually ran against Amelia [and lost] ended up not returning to student council meetings after that. I didn’t want that to happen this time, because I really value the opinions of Kalila and McKenna. I tried to push them to continue sharing their voices. I'm really happy they ended up doing so.”
In fact, Nathan admires Kalila and McKenna so much that he confesses he was nervous running against them: “I will say I was nervous, because Kalila and McKenna are both very qualified, very intelligent, and very dedicated to improving the school. I knew I had to paint the best picture of myself, based off of what I’ve done in the community, and the goals I have going forward.”
This position will be a new one for Nathan, yet his desire to serve as president traces back to almost four years ago. He explains, “When I joined Student Council in ninth grade is when I started focusing on being [Student Council] president. Seeing the strong influence that former [Student Council] presidents had on the community had a big impact on me. I wanted to be like them. Therefore, I was a Student Council grade representative for two years. To me, that was a step towards the end goal, which at that point was to be the president.” He reflects on what life has been like since the announcement of his appointment: “I've started to pay attention a little more to my actions, noticing that now there is more pressure on me to be the best person I can be, because I have all these eyes on me now. I’m trying to be the best role model I can for the underclassmen, and showing that even though I have this position, it doesn’t mean I’m really any different than the rest of the community.” He continues on a personal note, saying, “It's a serious commitment. I'm going to have to think harder about my work habits. I don't want to change what I enjoy just because I’m the president. I’m still going to be a three-season athlete, I’m still going to take the classes that I want to take, it’s just going to be a little more difficult to work around.”
Looking into the future, Nathan hopes to “take input from the wider community, rather than just student council, and try to use that to actually make the change.” He also hopes “to put a method in place to get input from the larger student body rather than the sampling from student council, and applying that wider range of feedback to the decisions we as council leaders make.” In terms of how he wishes to see the community change, Nathan explains, “I want to try to change the way we interact with each other to try to make it more empathetic, and to be more open to hearing other students. We need to look past differences that we have, and have conversations about that, and to try to stay open and notice that we don’t all necessarily have the same beliefs, but that doesn't mean we're not going to work well together. I’m hoping to foster that type of community feeling in the school.” For those who may be apprehensive about the transition of leadership and new developments, Nathan assures, “I’m not trying to make any drastic changes, don’t worry! My main goal is to take in more student input and trying to make more change based off of that.”
It is sometimes said that “leadership is a legacy.” Nathan discusses his relationship with his soon-to-be-predecessor, President Amelia McDonnell ‘18: “Amelia and I have been pretty good friends all along. Having these past two years of experience working alongside Amelia, I’ve really gotten to know her as a great role-model. I've gotten to witness a lot of the ways she runs the meetings, I’ve had a lot of conversations with her about ideas. This transition is going to be a change for both of us.”
Though Nathan “deeply loves FCS,” he admits there are times even he feels uncomfortable on campus: “One thing that I have been struggling with in this school is the fact that there have been multiple times where issues have come up in discussions and I have had what I consider to be, although I don't know if it really is, an unpopular belief on a specific issue. Maybe that's just in the given room, maybe that’s just in the school, whatever. I’ve been afraid to share that because I've been worried that people would see me in a negative way because of that. I’m hoping to have people be more open-minded, and know that not everyone is going to have the same views throughout this community, and that’s actually good! We have a diverse set of students, we have different opinions, we’re looking at things from different lenses, and that’s all valid. I hope people will be more open to hearing others’ ideas and taking those into consideration. I want to tell everybody that you’re not alone if you have an unpopular belief, and you should not be afraid to share the way you’re feeling even if you don’t hear other people sharing it.”
Concluding the interview with a positive bent, Nathan declares, “I’m really excited.” The President-Elect is a self-proclaimed “hamburger-lover” who lives in Villanova and has a brother (Sam Levitties ‘17) who attends Colby College. Nathan encourages anybody and everybody to send him a message at email@example.com or to approach him around campus. “I am always available to talk,” he promises.