1. For what position are you running?
I am running for the position of Senior Prefect.
2. What makes you feel that you are qualified for the position? Please describe any leadership experiences you’ve had, if applicable.
I am qualified for the position of Senior Prefect because I communicate well with people. Not only with students, but equally, if not more importantly, with teachers and coaches. I know that I would be able to build a tighter connection between us, the soon to be seniors, and the faculty and administration allowing me to better address the needs of the student body. I know so many of you from my classes and from playing three sports. As a goalie for the water polo and soccer teams I have had leadership experience. It is the keeper’s responsibility to tell the other players where they need to be on the soccer field and in Water Polo the keeper has to let the players know when the clock is running out. I am the Captain of the JV volleyball team. I believe I was selected for this position because I have a good attitude and I set a good example of competing hard but fair. I have been playing on the JV teams patiently waiting for my turn to be on Varsity, and though it may not seem as glorious, I found an upside. I got to know many more high school students because I played JV.
I take pride in being a part of the Harvard-Westlake community, and one of the reasons I play so many sports and go to so many games, is to get to know everyone I can in our limited four years. I have always tried to knit myself as tightly into the community as possible. Last year I ran for Junior Prefect because I wanted to lead our class. I don’t say lead in a selfish way, but more that I really care for the Harvard-Westlake community and would love to help further its development as much as possible. Running a second time, my desire to do so is even stronger and therefore my desire to work hard to improve life on campus is even greater. Combining my genuine care for the student body with a fun and approachable personality, I think I would be a great choice for Senior Prefect during our final year of high school.
3. How do you feel about the Honor Board and what has led you to feel this way?
I believe that students at Harvard-Westlake show up on their first day with a code of honesty and integrity. I believe that we were chosen not only for our academic, athletic, or extracurricular talents, but also for our moral values. To get into our school in 9th grade I had to write about a time it was important to be honest, and throughout our campus we have the Honor Code mounted on our walls as a constant reminder of what we should value.
Although honesty, integrity, and honor are important in our community, sometimes when pressure mounts, people slip up; fortunately for us, we have the Honor Board so students can be helped by their peers to get back on track. I appreciate the Honor Board because it is run by fair-minded students who know their classmates and feel the same pressures they feel. The student body chooses their Prefects because they know that they can be trusted to represent them. In addition, the Honor Board serves to connect the student body with the faculty. It allows us to have a voice, not in punishing our peers, but in defending them. Without it, we would feel disconnected from the faculty and administration and defenseless. The Prefects can see the point of view of their fellow students and are therefore more forgiving. Although the Honor Board must decide on punishments, the purpose is not to make their classmates pay for their actions, but to learn from them, understand their mistakes, and to make our community stronger.
The Honor Board reminds us of that time, way back when we applied here and gave serious thought about how it was important to be honest, and encourages us to continue to keep these ideals in mind each and every day at school.
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 any of you have ever seen a John Hughes movie from the 80’s you know about the typical clichéd high school experience. Yet despite the corny stereotypes, everybody loves them. He took characters that were completely different and brought them together into unexpected and unforgettable moments. Take The Breakfast Club. Sure, the characters like Molly Ringwald’s Claire, the “Princess,” and Emilio Estevez’s Andrew, “the Athlete” may seem exaggerated; but what was so great about the films were not the stereotypes that you could easily make fun of but the sense of companionship and bonding that the characters felt by the final scene, despite their differences. That feeling and those connections are what made these films so memorable.
Harvard Westlake is not a typical high school. We are one of the top college prep schools in the nation. In my three years I have found that this creates a wonderful sense of competition and focus that you cannot find anywhere else; but there is also a sense of separation that comes with the competition and the singular focus on getting into college, especially at the upper school.
In 9th grade on the lower campus we had the central locker area where everyone could mingle and feel connected as a group. We also had our Colorado River trip, possibly the most memorable experience from our 4 years of high school for many of us. I regret the fact that there are so many people that I talked to on the trip that I have rarely seen or ever had a conversation with since. I am sure that many others feel the same.
Next year we will be seniors and I miss that feeling of unity that we had back in 9th grade. That is what I want to bring to the Upper School. It could be big or it could be small. Creating a new Seniors-Only Quad would be hard to accomplish with our limited space, but we could work to make the existing quad more of a place that bonds us as a class. I would propose playing music during free periods outside in the quad, seniors pick. Seniors could create stations on a Pandora account and have assigned time slots during the week. Sure, we could still study in the library and science office and any other hidden space we find, but if we had free time we would have something to bring us together and allow us to relax for a change.
These are our high school years we can’t just focus on the future and forget to have fun. I think it is best to live in the moment and enjoy what you have now so you will have something to remember in the future.