Students elect Prefects for the 2023-2024 school year

Alex Lee and Nathan Wang

Following a series of elections and runoffs throughout March, April and May, the student body elected the Prefect Council for the 2023-2024 school year. Sophomores and juniors elected Bari LeBari ’24 and Assistant News Editor Davis Marks ’24 as Head Prefects. Juniors elected Ryan Cheng ’24, Glory Ho ’24, Elizabeth Johnstone ’24 and Nyla Shelton ’24 as Senior Prefects. Sophomores elected Sasha Aghnatios ’25, Ellie Borris ’25, Gideon Evans ’25 and Victor Suh ’25 as Junior Prefects. Freshmen elected Sarah Anschell ’26, Caroline Cosgrove ’26, Mark Dai ’26 and Robbie Louie ’26 as Sophomore Prefects.

Marks said the school community has always been welcoming to him, and as Head Prefect, he hopes to improve students’ everyday lives.

“Our community has never failed to make me feel loved, which has allowed me to grow as a person, friend and student without ever feeling alone,” Marks said. “I genuinely love seeing students smile and enjoy school, so as Head Prefect, I hope I can be a source of positivity and support for students. Though Head Prefects have the responsibility of leading Prefect Council, I hope to truly make a difference by leading our community in fostering an environment of support, love and inclusion.”

LeBari said that he wants to help the school community in any way possible as Head Prefect.

“As a Head Prefect, [I plan to] be supportive, help people out and just be there for the community,” LeBari said. “The main reason why I ran was to help as many people as possible, just to support them through their daily affairs. I’m just trying to make Harvard-Westlake one percent better every single day. If you’re one percent better every day, then you’ll be a lot percent better after a bunch of days.”

Johnstone said her motivation to run for Senior Prefect was largely rooted in finding meaningful ways to improve student mental health.

“This year has been quite awful, really, for this whole community,” Johnstone said. “I think it’s so important that we acknowledge that there is a systemic change that needs to happen. We need to remember that our goal is not to heal back to what we were before these incidents happened but to examine the structures and the foundations of our community that created an environment in which these tragedies happened. I felt that being a Senior Prefect was a great way to have those tough conversations with adults in leadership and bridge the gap between students, parents, teachers and administration.”

Clara Conrad ’25 said she thinks Prefect Council should dedicate more effort to mental health awareness and support.

“I want Prefect Council to really focus on mental health,” Conrad said. “I think that we have some great resources at this school, like Peer Support and the counselors, but given the current situation at the school, there’s more we have to do as a community. The Prefects are supposed to act as the student body’s voice, and it’s really important to me that they communicate to the administration what we think would actually improve mental health at the school.”

Suh said he hopes to be able to dedicate more time to actively planning and organizing events next year by using his experience as a Sophomore Prefect.

“I dedicated a lot large part of my experience on Prefect Council this year [to] learning the ropes because even though I had Student Council experience at the middle school, the responsibilities are very different,” Suh said. “Getting familiar with the nitty-gritty processes of it all is going to help me the most next year, because my goal is to spend the time that I spent this year learning the basics [on] thinking or planning stuff that I want to do, as opposed to just following along with the norms.”

Louie said he thinks his three years on Student Council have provided him with the necessary experience to make practical changes.

“I don’t know if a ton of [my middle school Student Council experience] is going to carry over because there are a bunch of new responsibilities at the Upper School, including the Honor Board and things like that,” Louie said. “But I do think my experience provides good insight into knowing what is realistic and what is accomplishable so that I know I’m not going to promise anything that I won’t be able to do.”

Head Prefect Simon Lee ’23 said he will miss being able to make positive changes for the community.

“There is a certain affinity for the school, that becomes stronger when you’re a Prefect because you’re working with administrators all the time,” Lee said. “There’s a bit of that that I’m gonna miss. Like being able to consider that what I did was meaningful in this specific setting of a given community.”