Candidate Statement: Luke Holthouse ’13

1. For what position are you running?

I am running for the position of Senior Prefect.

2. What makes you feel that you are qualified for the position? Please describe any leadership experiences you’ve had, if applicable.

After serving on Student Council at the middle school, I’ve come to believe that anyone who is dedicated and enthusiastic towards serving the school is capable of being a good class representative. The biggest reason why I think I’d be qualified to serve as a Senior Prefect is that I would be devoted to trying to improve our community and genuinely excited about working with the Senior Class, the other members of the Prefect Council and the Administration. I also believe I’m prepared to take on the role thanks to the different things I’ve been involved with at school. As mentioned above, I served as a Senator in 7th and 9th grade at the middle school, so I’m used to planning events with a group, being a representative of our class and interacting with the Administration. As one of the 9th grade Senators, I was responsible for setting an example for the other members on the Council. I’m particularly proud of the work we did that year raising money to fight cancer through various fundraisers in honor of John Amato’s son, who passed away at the beginning of our freshman year, and Chris Robinson, who was initially diagnosed with cancer around that time. This year, on the Chronicle staff, I’ve been responsible for managing the Sports section as one of three Junior section heads. As one of the section heads, I’m responsible both for writing and designing some of the content that goes into the section as well as making sure that all other content has been completed and edited. I’ve learned a lot about responsibility, time management and taking a leadership role amongst a group from working with the paper this year. I’ve also learned a lot about working with a team the last three years as a member of the Varsity lacrosse program. All season, I’ve worked hard to do my part for the team and am proud of our undefeated record in league. From all of these activities, I’ve interacted with a diverse group of students. For this reason, I would feel comfortable being a class representative because I would truly represent athletes, writers or artists involved in other things at H-W I also think the fact that I would be a first-time member to Prefect Council would help me truly represent the rest of the student body. I would have a unique perspective on issues like whether or not the Honor Board is transparent to the rest of the student body or how the student body feels about certain Prefect Council events because I’ve spent the last two years as just any other student.

3. How do you feel about the Honor Board and what has led you to feel this way?

The Honor Board is one of the very unique aspects about Harvard-Westlake. No other school I know of has students sit on cases regarding alleged school infractions. I really like the idea of having class representatives truly represent classmates dealing with possible Honor Code infractions. Personally, I would feel very intimidated sitting before a group of people made up entirely of faculty trying to decide if I had broken school rules and to what degree I would be punished. I think having students there can make a very difficult and uncomfortable process easier to deal with. I also think that it is important for there to be a student perspective when dealing with cases about plagarism or the giving of unauthorized aid on tests. If a student allegedly cheated on a certain class project or essay, it could be helpful for Prefects to be present if one of the members was in the same class or had the same teacher the year before. That way, the Prefect could explain whether he or she thought the rules regarding that project were clearly stated by the teacher. The important thing, in my opinion, for the Honor Board to remember is that it should be viewed as a part of the student body, and not the administration. It is ultimately the administration that makes all decisions related to Honor Code infractions, while the Honor Board’s job is just to make recommendations as to what those decisions should be. If the Board took a more active role in trying to represent each student and trying to help them rather than strictly judge each student, they would learn from their mistakes more often and fewer repeat infractions would occur.  

4. Please describe one thing in Harvard-Westlake’s community you would change. Also, how would you use the influence of the position of Junior/Senior Prefect to change our community?

I think that the Prefect Council should remove the copies of the Honor Code around school. To me, everything that the Honor Code says not to do should be common knowledge or basic set of morals ingrained in us before any of us even come to the school. People shouldn’t need a reminder to know what is right and what is wrong. In my opinion, posting copies of the Honor Code around school give the impression that people shouldn’t cheat because it’s against the rules and if they get caught, they’ll be punished. After the cheating scandal on the history midterm when we were in 7th grade, I remember Mr. Hudnut saying the most important thing about the Honor Code is not that people should follow it in fear of the punishment they’d receive for breaking it but rather because being honest is the right thing to do. If I were elected Prefect, I would push for the Prefect Council to replace copies of the Honor Code posted around schools with more positive messages such as the annual school motto. I think encouraging students around campus to do the right thing is better than reminding them not to break school rules.