Candidate Statement: Henry Hahn '14

1. For what position are you running?

Junior Prefect

2. What makes you feel that you are qualified for the position? Please describe any leadership experiences you’ve had, if applicable.

Over the past 3 years between both my involvement in student government and my other extra-curricular activities, I’ve had a lot of experience in leadership roles that have sought to bring our school together as community: I helped initiate and produce the Coffee Houses on the MS campus and then further developed this tradition by working on the US Coffee Houses, which, at their essences, are all about peers supporting peers; I co-created the HW Philomathean Society- which brings students together outside of HW who share an interest in film; and through the years, I’ve been involved in countless activities to foster school spirit and community service (e.g. dances, haunted hallways, movie promos, and food fundraisers—just to name a few).

More importantly, however, in my three years in student government, I’ve learned to successfully navigate the HW administration to get things changed and accomplished. I’ve learned that it’s never simple; I’ve learned that, without fail, it always takes time and extensive effort; but I’ve learned the process—

It was difficult and took time, but I’m proud to say that I got water bottles back in the cafeteria this year, and I am currently working on a more efficient communication system that would supplement the Daily Bulletin so that students can be notified about tryouts, clubs, activities and meetings in a more reliable and tech-friendly fashion.

As I have mentioned in previous speeches, I am here to be your voice: call, text, email or simply come up and talk to me about your ideas or issues with school. Working with the HW bureaucracy is challenging, and I feel my experience and tenacity will be an asset to our class.

3. How do you feel about the Honor Board and what has led you to feel this way?

I personally feel that (in theory and in its intentions) the Honor Board is an incredible facet of our school community– a system that potentially stands to distinguish HW from countless other high schools in that it gives the student body a voice with the faculty and administration, it gives us a say in what we consider “right” and “just”, and gives weight to our interpretation of what the Honor Code is and what the Honor Code ought to be. Quite simply, the Honor Board is a privilege.

That being said, however, it is widely acknowledged by many students and Chronicle articles that students do not view the Honor Board in this way. This sentiment is something that Prefect Council cannot afford to ignore or disregard: if a “student initiative” that was intended to give students a voice in their school administration is not being well received by the student body, then there is an obvious problem that must be addressed. Having served on the Honor Board this past year, my goal for next year would be to create an environment where students actually believe in the Honor Board and support its decisions, rather than fear it or feel alienated from it. The Board’s primary function must not solely be to punish, but also to help students in the community. We need to figure out what we can do to prevent future infractions rather than just scaring people from committing them. This can only be achieved by having an Honor Board that conducts open conversations with the community during which Prefects actually listen to what students have to say and use those ideas to help shape our community. That is precisely the type of student government and Honor Board I would strive to create if reelected.

4. Please describe one thing in Harvard-Westlake’s community you would change. Also, how would you use the influence of the position of Junior/Senior Prefect to change our community?

If there were one thing I could change about this school, as a Prefect, all-across the board, it would be communication:

As I mentioned before, I’d like to see communications improved between the student body and the Honor Board. Moreover, as mentioned in Question #2, I feel we need a better daily communication system so that students can be notified about tryouts, clubs, activities and meetings in a more reliable and tech-friendly fashion.  A modernized, totally revamped Daily Bulletin, so to speak—one that reaches students no matter where they are on campus, utilizing all the technology students have adopted over the past few years. This, of course, would require major navigation through the HW administration in order to implement such a change. I feel that my experiences in the past of serving in student government would help guide me through this process. As a matter of fact, I’ve already begun conversations with members of the administration, and I would hope to make this change effective at the beginning of next year. As a member of the Prefect Council, my job is to help my classmates navigate through the HW community with ease, and to help them to enjoy all that this incredible school has to offer—and that is what I plan to do should I be reelected for next year.

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