Candidate Statement: Josh Shapiro ’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.

Being a leader of the Harvard-Westlake community entails a lot of work that should be dealt with a thoughtful and conscientious attitude because every decision this leader makes reflects upon, and, in turn, affects the community. The Harvard-Westlake community means a lot to me so I am very passionate about helping Harvard-Westlake in as many ways as I can.  

Currently, as a student ambassador, helping Harvard-Westlake’s admissions process has mad me realize how much helping Harvard-Westlake means to me.  However, it makes me want to get involved in more ways to help the community. As Junior Prefect, I will work diligently for the Harvard-Westlake community to make sure student’s voices are heard. Along with being passionate, I believe a leader of the Harvard-Westlake community should be approachable and have an open mindset to be able to effectively consider any student’s wishes and ultimately communicate them to the Prefect Council. I try to be a part of many extra curricular activities at Harvard-Westlake to get to know new people. I also try to be as friendly and open as possible with Harvard-Westlake students because if I were to be prefect, I’d like any student to feel totally comfortable to come up to me and just talk. I believe that this trait can help me as a Junior Prefect because it would make it easier to communicate any students’ question, comment or concern to the Prefect Council and ultimately to the administration.

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

I feel that the Honor Board has been working very hard to make fair decisions.  I can understand that having to determine a students’ fate and punishment can be very difficult so I have a lot of respect for the current Honor Board in the decisions that they have made. However, there is a gradation of what “fair” means to different people.  A lot of the time, my fellow students complain that certain decisions are not “fair” in their eyes after a recommendation email about an Honor Board case is sent out so there is some room for improvement here.  I think it is important to address these concerns and as Junior Prefect I would make it one of my top priorities.

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?

One thing I would change is the issue I talked about previously. To reiterate, at times, my friends have been disappointed in the Honor Board’s decisions and the community’s strong opinions end up floating within Harvard-Westlake without reaching the Honor Board itself. As Junior Prefect, I would use all my power to bridge the communication gap between the Harvard-Westlake community and the Honor Board. First and foremost, I would have a reminder in the recommendation email that says that students can talk to any Prefect about their opinions on the matter constructively and anonymously. Next, I would put a link to a brief Anonymous Opinion Form via that any student can access and anonymously share their opinion and concerns. This surveying would reflect the Harvard-Westlake community’s opinion and help the Honor Board take the community’s voice into consideration for future Honor Board cases. This will create a proper place for students to communicate their opinions instead of engaging in meaningless gossip. This will also help create a better relationship between the Harvard-Westlake community and the Honor Board because students will not only feel but know that their opinions matter too. After the opinions have been thoughtfully read, as Junior Prefect, I will try my best to incorporate my fellow students’ ideas of what is “fair” to address Honor Board cases. I believe that fairness should not only be dictated by the Prefect Council and Administration alone, but also by the students of the Harvard-Westlake community. Although prefects have sufficient power to change things in the community, it does not compare to the power of the community as a whole. As Junior Prefect, I will use my power to create a stronger relationship between the student body and administration so that we can work together and more effectively bring whole new events to Harvard-Westlake.