Taking smaller steps for change

The first day of school can be both daunting and exciting. Sophomores will experience the endless flights of stairs, juniors will stop trying to carry all their books at once, and seniors will come to grips with the fact that the Common Application just did not get finished this summer. Nevertheless, we are all excited to meet new teachers, reconnect with friends, and share summer experiences.

Walking around campus and comparing first-day stories makes us all realize the abundance of classes and opportunities here at Harvard-Westlake. The curriculum guide doesn’t quite do justice to that one teacher that can change the way you feel about a subject, or that one club in which you find your passion. From the day we set foot on this campus, we are told to immerse ourselves and get involved in all that this place has to offer. No one doubts the presence of these opportunities; what’s missing is the time to take advantage of them all.

In a perfect world, we could take all the electives we wanted to, play the sport we left behind at the Middle School, and fight for a spot in the musical this fall. However, at a school with such academic pressure, this is not a reality. We all benefit from Harvard-Westlake’s academic standard, but it often leaves us with little time to try new things.

In this type of environment, it is too easy to categorize one self as the drama kid, the baseball player, the history buff, or the Head Prefect. We get stuck on tracks, focusing on fewer and fewer interests.

The Prefect Council understands that sweeping change to life at school is not a realistic option. What it does believe, however, is that a number of small, incremental changes can really make a difference. If even a small portion of our stress is relieved, we would hope that the student body would have more freedom to explore, and to experience something different that this school has to offer.

As Head Prefects, we promise to do everything in our power to make this hope a reality. Let’s make the most of our time here, and best of luck for the year to come.


— Melanie Borinstein ’11 and Chris Holthouse ’11, Head Prefects