Prefect Statement: Reid Lidow

Reid Lidow

Why do you think you should be Head Prefect?

I am running for Head Prefect because I enjoy being involved in Student Government. There are many ideas and goals I have yet to examine and execute as a member of the Prefect Council, but most importantly, I value and enjoy this privilege that was entrusted to me by my peers. Being a member of the Prefect Council does entail extreme commitment and tough decisions, yet I feel deeply committed to the task, even during tough times.  In November of last year, my fellow Junior Prefects and I submitted a proposal to the Administration for extended breaks.  Early this year the Administration approved the break proposal, and since that time we have had four successful Wednesday breaks. Hopefully for next year the Administration and Faculty will approve a permanent Wednesday 2:30 break day. Another proposal I would like to see approved is one for a class retreat.  This retreat is designed to accomplish what the Middle School retreats do—strengthen class community. I am confident that given time, progress will occur based on what you, the student population, strongly desire.  It is not easy fighting for proposals and lobbying for the student body, but being on the Prefect Council is a job I truly care about.  Moving forward, I am certain that our last year, senior year, will be crucial for all of us, and I want to be there to lead our class.

What extracurricular activities do you currently participate in and are you prepared to fully commit to Prefect Council?

For the past two years I have been fully committed to Prefect Council, and if reelected I will renew that promise.  I run Junior Varsity Cross Country and Track & Field and never have I nor will I ever let these sports interfere with my duties as a Prefect. The same goes for my participation on the yearbook staff and with various clubs on campus; Prefect Council will always come first.

What would you bring to the Honor Board if elected?

If elected to the position of Head Prefect, I would be bringing two years of Honor Board experience with me. After sitting on my fair share of Honor Board cases, I am certain that both the Honor Board and the Honor Code are integral parts of the Harvard-Westlake community. First off, the Honor Code is a cornerstone in our community and serves as a template for our community values.  The Honor Code is not so much about individual trust, but rather geared toward the community as a whole. An Honor Code also helps to instill a positive philosophy and establish strong values with a community.  During many Honor Board cases I have seen that when the Honor Code is broken the community can lose its bearing, but at the same time the Honor Code acts as a constant that helps direct the school, during emergencies and daily life.  While the Honor Board has many benefits, my experience has also led me to see that the Honor Board does have its flaws.  Communication between the student body and the Honor Board is very important, yet there seems to be a disparity between these two groups.  Moreover, it is easy to overlook the fact that the Honor Board and Code are designed to change with the times, nowhere is it written that they are never to change. If elected I intend to focus just as much energy on advancing the Honor Board and meeting student desires for change and progress as I will in other areas.

To be a good Prefect, one needs to be able to “understand where the community has been, where the community currently is, and ultimately where the community needs to be.” Please take some time to reflect on each individual aspect (a lengthy response is expected).

The Harvard-Westlake community is certainly a complex one. My knowledge begins from when I arrived here in seventh grade.  Our class then does not resemble the class I know today in terms of personal growth and communal progress within our grade level. Our first experience as a community began with the signing of the Honor Code, which then had very little significance in our lives.  By the ninth grade, we all had matured and formed a more cohesive group that comprises our class today. However, our class and school community has a lot of work to accomplish, both academically and in terms of character development, before we graduate.  The Middle School provided ample social interactions through scheduled breaks and free time, but now most calendar days are packed and students feel constantly rushed. A community that is functioning to its full potential should embrace ideas that inspire its members to do what is right while at the same time fostering school unity.  The future always holds hope for progress and improvement. To resolve the issues of a dysfunctional community, Upper School retreats would strengthen class bonds and bring classes closer together. Adding a permanent 2:30 extra break during the week would allow students to fulfill more of their goals and also create a better social environment.  Lastly, and most importantly, the Honor Code needs to be reevaluated.  Every year new ideas emerge, and the Honor Board should be able to adapt to changing times and the wants of the student body. Since the Honor Code is applicable to each member of the student body, it should be an organic document created by them that is open for review and amendments. These ideas are realistic, and several of them are already in motion this year.  Being a visionary is crucial as a Prefect, and your vision to succeed coupled with my desire to lead can result in progress for our class and the school.