Candidate Statement: Sophia Lopez ’14

1. For what position are you running?

I am running for the position of Junior Prefect.

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

I believe what qualifies me for this position is my love of Harvard-Westlake and my ambition to lead and represent the class of 2014. I wake up every morning excited to go to such a great school and to be able to make it an even better environment for everyone would be an honor. I feel that I can offer a fresh perspective in all aspects of Prefect Council’s duties; I feel I can use both my mind and my heart when sitting on the honor board to feel what emotionally may have led to an honor code infraction and understand that we are humans who make mistakes occasionally, while also thinking of what might be a proper honor board assessment of the case and what would logically fit the infraction while ensuring that whatever the outcome of the case is, the person brought before the honor board learns from his or her mistake. I believe that the class of 2014 is a wonderful group full of thinkers, artists, athletes, activists, and more. What I really believe unites us is that we all work extremely hard and are committed to the HW community. I believe that students that work this hard should also be rewarded with fun activities and events within our School community. As a junior prefect, I would work my hardest along with my colleagues to bring to you, the class of 2014, many different events throughout the school year that satisfy the restrictions placed by the administration but are also extremely fun. Will there be another semi formal? Probably not in the immediate future. However, I have worked with LA mayor Antonio Villaragosa’s office planning events for Los Angeles’ underprivileged kids. These events have to be fun, manageable, secure, safe, and somehow satisfy everyone, from the officials throwing the event to the children attending. I have learned so much from the experiences of throwing these types of events that I believe I could translate the ‘formula’ of the parties, so to speak, and apply it to the upper school. Overall, my goal is to offer a new approach to Prefect Council’s duties; the honor board, event planning and coordinating, and making the HW community a better environment for everyone. I feel what qualifies me for the position is that I care so much about it.

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

I feel that the Honor Code serves a definite purpose: to remind us that while good grades and accomplishments are important, they are not so important that they should obscure our moral compass. Of course, we need to enforce the Honor Code somehow, and I believe that the Honor Board is a great way to do so. I like the idea that instead of presenting a case in front of administrators and teachers that have never been in our position as HW students, an Honor Code violator is able to stand before a group of elected fellow students that not only understand the pressure that could cause an Honor Code infraction, but have also lived through that kind of pressure. I think the Honor Board is an important tool for the personal growth of both the student who committed the violation and all upper school students. The goal of the Honor board isn’t to punish, but rather to guide an offender in the right direction. By sending out e-mails relaying the case to the student body, I think that everyone learns from each case.

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 hope to get the student body more involved and really be a representative of their voices. I believe that is the bigger picture of the prefect position; to see what the class of 2014 wants and to advocate for them. I would create more fun events for students to enjoy. I know we’ve all heard it before, but I genuinely believe I am able to do this. I would not only aim for a semi-formal replacement event, but other fun events throughout the year as well. More Coffee House talent shows, possibly more events in anticipation of sporting events, beginning of the year and end of the year bonding events for the HW upper school student body. We are large school, and I want to create even more of a sense of community within HW.