The votes are in: Head Fanatics announced

Students, athletes and newly elected Head Fanatics reflect on the benefits of fan support.


Printed with permission of Carter Staggs

Fans watch as the school’s football team wins 14-6 against Canyon.

Saisha Kumar

Upper school students elected their head Fanatics for the school year Friday. Students voted for their head fanatics on a survey sent out on Aug. 31 and the winners were announced two days later.

Kai Faucher ’23, Judah Marley ’23, Rohan Mehta ’23, Nathalie Paniagua ’23, Olivia Rahhal ’23, Carter Staggs ’23 and Lily Weisskopf ’23 were elected as senior head Fanatics. Additionally, Josh Barnavon ’24, Zion Otaño ’24, Lily Stambouli ’24 and Grayson Tooley ’24 were elected junior head Fanatics.

Stambouli said she is enthusiastic to support the school’s teams and spread her excitement with her peers.

“When I was a sophomore, my favorite events were going to the basketball and volleyball games and everyone was super excited about them,” Stambouli said. “I just want to share that, not only with the sophomores but also with the Upper School and even the Middle School.”

Head Fanatics organize pep rally events and promote excitement at sports games and art performances, according to FanaticFest Committee member and Sophomore Prefect Ellie Borris ’25 .

Borris said head Fanatics have a substantial impact on the crowds during sports events.

“I just think [having Fanatics] gets people a lot more excited when leaders are up there running the student section,” Borris said. “Last year at our basketball games, they were super hyped [and] the student section was great. I think the fanatics really helped with that.”

When campaigning, most candidates opted to use an Instagram account or to put posters around school, according to Borris. Candidates could also give optional speeches during lunch on the day polls were sent out.

Rahhal, who also served as a junior head Fanatic, said she enjoys seeing how her and the other Fanatics’ support can shift competitions from being stressful to being exciting.

“I think it helps any team knowing that they’re supported and that they have people on their side,” Rahhal said. “Especially at a place like Harvard-Westlake, everything gets really intense, including sports. I love the people at [the school] so any chance I can get to interact with them in an out-of-school setting is something I want to take advantage of, especially since I’m a senior and I’m going to be gone in a year. ”

Basketball player Robert Hinton ’24 said having Fanatics at his game positively impacts him and his teammates.

“It could be the difference between winning and losing games,” Hinton said. “[Having Fanatic and crowd support] really brings the momentum for a team and just brings so much excitement and confidence for a team when you see everyone cheering for you.”