We’re not that posh

A fever seemed to descend upon Los Angeles last month when the Galaxy announced that David Beckham would be moving from Real Madrid to Los Angeles’ resident soccer team. However, it was his wife, Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, who jumped on to the L.A. scene while shopping for a house.
The Washington Post reported last month that Mrs. Beckham was also interested in finding a school for one of her sons, Brooklyn Beckham. Harvard-Westlake — suggested to Mrs. Beckham by none other than Katie Holmes — was at the top of her list.

Now, as one of the premier schools in the Los Angeles area, it seems natural that celebrities would seek out Harvard-Westlake for their high-profile kids. One problem: the eldest Beckham son is 7 years old, a full four years away from even being eligible to apply.

Whether this is an honest mistake or a Rorschach-esque vision (brought on by a severe case of “affluenza”), the public perception of our school as nothing more than a haven for spoiled celebrity children is what truly worries me.

Having a $20,000-plus tuition and perhaps the most selective high school admission office in the Los Angeles area certainly encourages the exclusive mystique surrounding our school. That is a reputation inherently tied to our status as an independent school. For better or worse, we cannot distance ourselves from that.

Exempting ourselves from this purely country club image is the more intellectual and hardworking character of our students. We clearly do not spend our days lounging around on a deck with mixed drinks.

Nevertheless, the public perception of us seems to be that we are no more than the indulged children of Hollywood socialites.

Sometimes we certainly do fit the bill. Our gossip could have been taken out of the hottest tabloids, with some students finding a similar vice as their favorite movie stars (who they might as well be acquainted with).

“So how can this be changed?” you ask.
I propose nothing too radical or farfetched, just some dignity and respect for the tradition of prestige that our school attempts to embody. We can all try to represent Harvard-Westlake a little better in the public eye.

While the school should not, by any means, expunge the records of unexcused absences for anyone who steps out of line in order to preserve its reputation, we can all make our own decision to hold ourselves with a little more pride and set a high standard of dignified behavior among all our peers.
Being given the opportunity to study at such a fine institution would be all but sullied, even by the best of students, through disrespect for the rest of the world.

Yes, it is preachy, but every so often, we need to be reminded of this.
Do we really want to be perceived as Dolce & Gabanna-wearing, Mercedes-driving, latte-drinking, Blackberries-glued-to-our-ear, rich kids?
Or does that already sound familiar?