President Rick Commons invested this year’s senior prefects during the Opening Convocation Aug. 31, where head prefects Grace Pan ’16 and Hunter Brookman ’16 instructed the student body to embrace the community as a family and to try new things.
The ceremony began with Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts introducing the convocation as an opportunity to bring together both campuses and demonstrate school strength through unity as a community.
“Convocation is a link to the past and a connection to our future,” Huybrechts said.
A hallmark of the school is the student leadership, Huybrechts added. Commons then took the stage to lead a declaration of the student council oath by this year’s representatives. The senior prefects were robed by their teacher or staff sponsors.
Pan spoke next, sharing her experience as the younger sister of a former Wolverine. Because they were so similar, Pan said, they were often compared, but instead of taking offense, she decided to work together with her sister to their mutual benefit. Pan then transferred the same message to the student body, saying that because Harvard-Westlake is a family, students should be able to help each other to achieve their goals.
“Take advantage of the people sitting next to you,” Pan said. “Learn from each other.”
Brookman then shared a story about the time he learned a hip-hop dance routine for his bar mitzvah. While he admitted that he was scared and constantly feared failing at new endeavors, he said students at Harvard-Westlake should not be afraid to slow down, try new things and fully experience the school.
“Let us stop, look around and dance to the ever-changing beat at Harvard-Westlake,” Brookman said. “Listening to the rhythm will open us up to infinite possibilities. For more than just an instant you can become the person you never once imagined you could be.”
Commons took the podium again to remind students of the relevance of the mission statement. He said relationships are one of the most important takeaways from students’ time at the school, and students should be ready to respond, to engage and to be open to inspiration.
The school provided Diddy Riese cookies and water to everyone after the event.