School community gathers for in-person Convocation


Sandra Koretz/Chronicle

President Rick Commons addresses the school community during Convocation.

Grant Park

As students and faculty gathered for the ninth annual all-school convocation on the Ted Slavin Field, Head Prefects Jade Stanford ’22 and Quincey Dern ’22 emphasized the importance of living in the present and urged students to discover their inner superpowers Wednesday.

Associate Head of School Laura Ross opened the event by thanking the Heads of the Middle and Upper Schools for their dedication to welcoming everyone back to campus.

After Ross’s remarks, Chaplain Reverend Ann Gardner spoke about the significance of communal time.

“In a place as frantic as ours, to covet one’s hours seems wise, even essential, to embrace and dedicate your time to the things that are worthy,” Gardner said. “Time is the most precious commodity you possess. Discovering how to use it wisely will be the greatest accomplishment of our collective lives.”

Following Gardner’s announcement, Prefects and Student Council Senators took an oath to carry out their responsibilities as representatives of the student body. President Rick Commons then introduced Head Prefects Stanford and Dern as the keynote speakers.

Stanford emphasized the importance of living in the moment and challenged the community to remain present.

“How do we know we’re in the good old days and how do we hold onto them for as long as possible?” Stanford said. “In simpler terms, how can we stay present? Especially in a time and a place that values forward-thinking and being goal-oriented, can these mindsets work together?”

Stanford concluded her speech by urging the audience to reconsider their current perspectives.

“I challenge you to think instead, will there ever be a time I wish I were doing this?” Stanford said. “You might not realize it in the moment, but the answer at some point or another will almost always be yes.”

Dern’s speech centered on her love for superheroes, encouraging students to take action and begin their own heroic journeys.

“Everything that is offered here at Harvard-Westlake is like a super-serum: it will help us gain more knowledge, strength and power,” Dern said. “We can use that power to propel only ourselves forward or remember that a heroes’ destiny is guided by a purpose beyond themselves. When we, one, embrace who we are, two, find our superpowers, three, have integrity and four, work together now and in the future, there is no challenge we can’t face and overcome. ”

As Commons concluded the convocation, he highlighted the work of teachers and deans who devote themselves to developing the character of each student.

“Our school aims for character as well as excellence, and that aim is truest when students find mentors, teachers, coaches, artistic directors and administrators who understand and believe in who you are and who you are becoming,” Commons said.

After Commons’ closing remarks, he directed the students and faculty toward tables of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.