Forum launches for seniors’ reflections

Lauren Sonnenberg

Seniors will speak about their personal experiences to their peers and teachers during Senior Reflections, set to begin this school year, upper school science teacher Dietrich Schuhl said.

He described the proposed reflections as “very personal TED talks.”

An email was sent from Schuhl and the Senior Reflections Committee to the senior class to inform them of the new program Aug. 21.

Parents of the Class of 2014 were also sent a similar email about Senior Reflections.

The email included an application, as well as “Senior Reflections Tips and Suggestions” and “Senior Reflection Guidelines.”

These documents described the nature, examples and steps for a reflection.

Though Schuhl said it is difficult to describe the exact nature of the talks, he offered possible topics of discussions such as “opportunities you embraced, decisions you regret and decisions you believe were correct.”

The Senior Reflections Committee is providing a forum for students to share what they find important so that they can reflect on their experience at Harvard-Westlake as well as expand the strength and depth of the community, Schuhl said.

Students can propose to share their reflection in a setting, time and audience of their choice.

Though students can decide whom to invite, they are required to invite at least 50 people from the Harvard-Westlake community and welcome any faculty and staff. Programs are limited to 20 minutes, including “any prelude music, introductory remarks, readings and recessional music,” the email said.

Students are warned against adding “thank you” messages to individuals during their reflection as they are meant to include and stimulate the entire audience.

Instead, students are advised to give a copy of their reflection to people whom they care about with a personal note attached.

Schuhl decided to bring the Senior Reflections program to Harvard-Westlake after a similar program at the Hill School was so well received by its community.

Schuhl decided to involve students from the incoming senior class.

Four seniors attended a live senior talk at the Webb Schools of California during the last school year and two of them, Oliver Goodman-Waters ’14 and Kennedy Green ’14, helped to draft guidelines for the execution of Senior Reflections at Harvard-Westlake.

“We’re all really good in our own silos and own focuses, but it’s really great that this program allows us to invite other people into our spheres and come together as a community,” Head of Upper School Deans Beth Slattery said.