Candidate Statement: Mane Williams ’14

1. For what position are you running?

I am running to be Junior Prefect.

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

To begin with, I am intelligent, hardworking, and personable. I am involved with many different communities of students including athletes, peer support and the arts. Whenever a problem arises I face it with careful thought and deliberation, no matter how much time it takes to complete. This is a crucial attribute required for Student Prefect, as the problems that arise will be complex and will require ones utmost attention. In addition, I am an open-minded person who is willing to take all opinions into account, despite my own ideas. I will give voice to individual concerns and ideas whether or not they agree with mine. If you have any thought that you feel should be heard and acknowledged, a simple email or telling me in person will be all you need to do. I promise to support your idea in any way that I can. I will always be happy to hear your new ideas and how you think our community could be changed for the better.

I do have a good amount of leadership experience. My first experience would be at my old school before coming to Harvard-Westlake, where I served as Treasurer. It was a great experience and has caused me to pursue many other leadership opportunities including Prefect Council. During one summer, I was a camp Counselor. This helped me gain familiarity with balancing the needs of many kids while managing their daily schedule. I also work really well with others and am very good at creating compromises.  Last year, I served as Captain of the Wrestling team for the Middle School, which gave me direct experience in being the leader of a team. I may not have to give inspiring speeches on Prefect Council like I did with the wrestling team, but I am very excited at the idea of leading you and the rest of Harvard-Westlake to a better future and community.

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

The Honor Board is a great privilege. No other school I know of has an Honor Code system in which students are reprimanded by a tactful group of teachers and peers. This model represents basic democratic legal rights of a trial by a jury of one’s peers. It allows students to be judged with empathy and understanding by one’s peers on the difficulties many Harvard-Westlake students face. For example, many schools could just expel a student for cheating and be done with it, but this system allows for careful deliberation over the exact circumstances surrounding the case. The Honor Board focuses on teaching the student the consequences of his/her actions, rather than promoting an ineffective method of discipline without learning. This is why I am so glad to be surrounded by a community like Harvard-Westlake. The trust given to us is a strong statement in the belief of our Honor Code and our student body’s integrity to uphold it.

The emails that the current Prefect Council has sent regarding Honor Board cases, along with examples given by my Dean, has led me to believe that the Honor Board is a great privilege. I would be greatly honored if you would allow me to participate in it.

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?

Although the Prefect Council sends emails about events scheduled and the results of Honor Board cases, I still find the communication between Student Prefects and the students they represent lacking. We are given warning of the choices that are made in Prefect Council, but are given no example of the choices that go on preceding the final event! If you elect me to be Student Prefect, I will attempt to make the communication more fluid by taking polls of students on choices that we, the Prefect Council, are making for them. With little communication it is all but impossible to truly represent your peers. Of course one cannot read the mind of every student in their grade, but by polling we can make decisions more democratically. These ideas would allow many students to truly understand issues and feel involved in their government, as opposed to simply voting for a Prefect in spring and forgetting about it until the next year. By involving students in decisions the Prefect Council makes, Student Prefects will be able to better represent their respective grades and our community will be much improved.