Convocation invests prefects, honors 25th anniversary


President Rick Commons shakes Head Prefect Matt Thomas’s ’17 hand after Thomas concludes his speech at the fourth annual convocation ceremony. Credit: Aaron Park/Chronicle

As the fourth annual all-school convocation ceremony Monday celebrated the 25th year of the union of the Harvard School for Boys and the Westlake School for Girls, Head Prefects Matt Thomas ’17 and Cate Wolfen ’17 directed students to appreciate the process of achieving results and to challenge themselves this year.

Thomas shared his experience with the boys’ varsity baseball team last year when his team lost by one run in the championship game. They were disappointed in their loss instead of being satisfied with their achievements, he said.

Thomas then urged students to focus on the “joyful pursuit of educational excellence,” as stated in the mission statement, rather than the outcomes of their endeavors.

“I don’t want Harvard-Westlake in my senior year to be a means to an end,” Thomas said. “I want best friends we’ll all have long past graduation. I want memories we can look back on and laugh about. I want to pursue my passions here, and I want to create relationships in a community that will welcome me back long after I’ve moved on.”

Wolfen spoke about challenge being essential to growth. She shared a story about an elementary school soccer team that purposely entered a league below their skill level so they would win all of their games. Wolfen cited honesty, integrity and courage as the keys to finding appropriate levels of difficulty for success.

“I hope we each approach the challenges we encounter this year with trust in our capabilities,” Wolfen said. “We must believe we can.”

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts began the ceremony with a speech describing the history of convocation and encouraging strong leadership and gratitude.

President Rick Commons swore in the new student council members and the senior prefects were robed by their faculty sponsors. Commons also celebrated the school’s 25th anniversary and told students to look out for social media contests to win Harvard-Westlake memorabilia.

Commons concluded the convocation by reiterating the messages of the prefect speeches and reminding students of the principles on the mission statement.

Muffins were served before middle school buses departed and upper school classes resumed.