Head Prefect candidates discuss inclusivity, stress


Jordan Khorsandi ’17 answers a question Wednesday about how he would help reduce stress on campus in his final effort to win the Head Prefect election. Credit: Teresa Suh/Chronicle

Danielle Spitz

Update April 4: Cate Wolfen ’17 and Matt Thomas ’17 will serve as next year’s Head Prefects.


Hopeful 2016-2017 Head Prefect candidates Cate Wolfen ’17, Lexi Block ’17, Jordan Khorsandi ’17 and Matt Thomas ’17 promoted their campaigns and answered questions Wednesday during a sophomore and junior assembly in Taper Gymnasium in an effort to earn votes for the pending election.

Voting opened to the students after the assembly concluded, and the polls will close Thursday at 2:30 p.m., after which the results will be announced.

Current Head Prefects Grace Pan ’16 and Hunter Brookman ’16 reflected on their time serving the school community and reviewed the responsibilities that the position of Head Prefect entails.

“[Brookman and I] have learned, most importantly, that in our positions as Head Prefects, the school is not just a bureaucratic system,” Pan said. “It’s rather a living, breathing process that we as Head Prefects have the responsibility and privilege to contribute to.”

Each candidate was required to give a brief 45 second introductory speech and was then asked two unprepared questions based on answers in their respective candidate statements. The students had 30 seconds to consider each question and then deliver a minute-long response.

Wolfen emphasized how she would aim to increase happiness on campus by working towards a more well-rounded community. Referencing the recent attacks in Brussels, Wolfen explained how her day at school did not seem any different, despite the international impact of the news.

“That represented the very bubble in which we live here, and, yes, I’m happy in that bubble, but I don’t think that we are becoming well-rounded students who are ready to enter the world and perform to the best of our ability,” Wolfen said. “I think we need more of a world outlook. We should discuss current events on a daily basis and be a more aware community.”

Block focused on the idea of inclusivity in order to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard.

“Inclusion means me being able to represent you and you feeling comfortable being represented by me,” Block said. “As your Head Prefect, inclusion is crucial not only among the Council, but in a day-to-day setting. Teams, clubs, whatever it takes, every student deserves a sense of belonging and inclusion at Harvard-Westlake so that he or she can do their best.”

Addressing the stress levels on campus, Khorsandi discussed his plan to increase communication between the student body and Prefect Council in order to listen to problems coming directly from the students.

“More students need to know that they have the opportunity to voice their opinions besides electing their Prefects or taking a survey on what kind of food truck they want to bring,” Khorsandi said. “They also need to have a say in the daily issues that come up in student life. I think we need to bring more student involvement in what the Prefect Council does.”

Thomas spoke about the importance of balance by relating to his personal experience in participating in extracurricular activities such as symphony and baseball.

“Being exposed to so many different kinds of people, I’ve gained really valuable insight about we can motivate people and how we can work together best because we all don’t function and we’re all not motivated in the exact same way,” Thomas said. “Harvard-Westlake has taught me to manage my time pretty well. I don’t think I’d still be here if I couldn’t do it, so fortunately, just from all my experiences, be it academic, athletic or performing arts, I’ve learned how to manage my time and how to work with others really well.”