History-making Head Prefects elected for 2021-2022 school year


Natalie Cosgrove

Newly-elected Head Prefect Jade Stanford ’22 gives her runoff speech in front of the Ted Slavin field.

Jade Stanford ’22 and Chronicle Assistant Features Editor Quincey Dern ’22 were voted as Head Prefects for the 2021-2022 school year, announced in an email sent to students April 20. This marks the first time two female students have been chosen as Head Prefects in the school’s history.

Dern said she was overjoyed when notified of her election win and is already formulating plans for Prefect Council next year.

“I am beyond ecstatic to hold the honor of Head Prefect and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work alongside my dear friend Jade Stanford,” Dern said. “As we approach the end of this year, I will start planning for the fall and hope to lay the groundwork for new initiatives.”

Dern also said that as students return to in-person learning, it is her objective to cultivate warmth and understanding among pupils.

“My greatest goal for Harvard-Westlake is that our student body will come together and create a culture of inclusion and kindness towards one another so that each student feels comfortable and safe within the community,” Dern said. ”I truly love the people of our school and want to thank the students for making this happen. As we hopefully return to a version of normalcy, I will dedicate myself to engaging with and listening to my peers, making their voices heard and implementing positive change.”

Each candidate had a total of four minutes to speak on their plans

After introductions by current Head Prefects Jonathan Cosgrove ’21 and Cleo Maloney ’21, the four candidates—Stanford, Dern, Jack Coleman ’22 and Jason Thompson ’22—all gave speeches addressing sophomores and juniors during a webinar April 19 along with an answer to an unprepared question regarding misconceptions about themselves. Sophomores and juniors then indicated their top two choices in surveys sent immediately following the event and were given until 3 p.m. the following day to cast their votes. In light of the recent return to school, the event was also the first opportunity for juniors to return to campus, and over 200 of them gathered socially distanced on the bleachers to watch live while the remaining students viewed from home.

In response to a prepared question about problems regarding COVID-19 next school year, Stanford said she is optimistic and hopes for increased interactions between students of different grades.

“As we prepare to return to the Harvard-Westlake we know and love, there will inevitably be some bumps along the way,” Stanford said. “I think it is less about what problems I will foresee and more about the opportunities that will lie ahead. I know we’re all looking forward to bonding as [individual] grades, but I don’t want us to forget something that makes the Upper School as special as it is: the bond between grades.”

Seven juniors ran for Head Prefect, four of which made it to runoffs

In his candidate statement sent to students via email April 18, Thompson said if elected, he would push to diversify the use of the Community Flex Time block in the new schedule.

“As Head Prefect, I would want to implement something I was passionate about and had the support of administrators to start, but was not able to do, due to [COVID-19], which was a varied use of the new Community Flex Times,” Thompson said. “While on Zoom, these times were filled with great guest speakers, but when we shift back onto campus, as Head Prefect I would want to lead the shift of these times being for the enjoyment of the HW community whether that entails intramural sports, coffee houses or performances from performing arts groups.”

Coleman said one of his goals was to require that teachers set aside class time for students to start their homework during the 75-minute periods.

“My first major proposal would be to mandate that teachers reserve the last 15 minutes of class time for homework,” Coleman said. “This reasonable proposal would allow us to get a head start on homework (reducing our after-school homework load by at least an hour), while still reserving plenty of time for lectures. Besides, this will help teachers too because when students practice work they just learned, we retain the information better and teachers will have to spend less time going over questions and reteaching material.”