Students, faculty convene for seventh annual all-school convocation


President Rick Commons welcomes students and faculty at convocation. Credit: Crystal Baik/Chronicle

Melody Tang

The school community gathered today for the seventh annual all-school convocation on Ted Slavin field to celebrate the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. Along with speeches from select administrators, Head Prefects Michael Lehrhoff ’20 and Grace Burton ’20 offered advice to underclassmen.

To open the convocation, Head of Middle School Jon Wimbish discussed the intense pace at which the school community moves, but advised students to take the time to enjoy their experience both in and out of the classroom.

Next, Head of Upper School Laura Ross spoke about the different types of happiness that the community should strive for, encouraging students to remain positive and set long-term goals.

“It’s the realization that anything worth doing is hard, and has within it highs and lows, and both are necessary to move forward in a meaningful way,” Ross said. “It’s the ability, when setbacks happen, to be able to reflect on how we can grow from these setbacks, instead of just focusing on how whatever happened felt bad. The ability to do that is actually what causes life satisfaction over the long term.”

After each member of student council took an oath to uphold their duties as representatives of their peers, President Rick Commons honored the senior prefects, including Burton and Lehrhoff, as their faculty sponsors robed them.

Lehrhoff then addressed the school, detailing the growth change students will experience in themselves and the school community around them. He shared a story about a moment in class which changed his mindset about being a student at a challenging school.

“The more you immerse yourself in our culture, the more that you begin to mirror [everyone’s] dedication,” Lehrhoff said. “Teachers, faculty and students encourage and support you, not only to grow to the limits of a standard GPA, but to the limits of your own passion.”

Burton delivered her speech next.  She shared the story of her personal evolution at the school and offered a piece of advice to students in each grade. 

“By the end of your time here, all of you will have discovered more about who you are,” Burton said. “I know I have. Harvard-Westlake has taught me that you don’t need to be a tomboy to be tough. Tough means something else to me now. It means seeing Harvard-Westlake for the challenge that it is.”

To conclude the convocation, the school provided Krispy Kreme donuts for students, faculty and staff.