Huybrechts to retire at the end of year

By Jessa Glassman ’20 and Lindsay Wu ’20
Left: Huybrechts, Center: Resnick, Right: Commons  Credit: Nathanson’s//Spectrum

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts will retire at the end of the year after 28 years of teaching and involvement in the academic community.  During her time at the school, she has developed and introduced various topics for study and improvement, including information technology integration through the one-to-one laptop program, the debate program, faculty growth, global education and interdisciplinary studies, along with serving as Head of Harvard-Westlake and holding many other positions.

“As Head of Harvard-Westlake I am principally responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school.  The President of the School and I divide the work of managing the school between us, and work to our strengths.  In addition to managing the school, I have taken on several projects that have particular interest to me, and have led in those areas,” Huybrechts said.

Prior to being Head of Harvard-Westlake, Huybrechts was the Head of Middle School for five years.  She first began teaching at Westlake School for Girls before the merger with Harvard School for Boys.  Before the merger, Huybrechts also taught primarily math and science at both the middle and upper school campuses. After the merger, she was a ninth grade dean for one year.  Huybrechts has also served as the equivalent to the Director of Studies.

“Dr. Huybrechts really cares about the learning experience. For me, math has never been my most preferable subject but last year Algebra II and Analysis was definitely my favorite class of the year. Dr. Huybrechts has incredible patience and care and aided everybody in the class. She made math fun. Dr. Huybrechts is such a sweet lady, teacher and mentor and I think a big role model at school. Everybody looks up to her.” Student of Huybrechts Dylan Wan ’18 said.

After Huybrechts’ retirement, current President of School Rick Commons will become President and Head of School. Interim Head of Upper School and former Director of Studies Liz Resnick will become the Associate Head of School. They will each assume some aspect of Huybrechts’s current responsibilities next year.

Both Commons and Resnick said that two main people are needed to run the school and to unite the two campuses.  Since Commons was named President of School, he and Huybrechts have worked together and shared responsibilities.  Next year, Commons and Resnick will work in conjunction and identify which of their skills and interests will best suit the school.

Though his title will change, Commons’ said that his role as President of School will not change significantly, as he has worked with Huybrechts in the same position in the past and is planning to share many duties with Resnick.

“There’s so much to miss about Dr. Huybrechts.  She’s such an extraordinary person, as well as school leader.  She knows this place inside and out so deeply, and knows how to work and make for the best Harvard-Westlake experience.  I will miss, and the school will miss, someone who knows as much, cares as much, and works as hard as Dr. Huybrechts.  Dr. Huybrechts shaped this place, and there will be echoes of what she’s done in years to come,” Commons said.

However, Resnick’s responsibilities next year will differ from those of her current position, as she steps up as the Associate Head of School.

“I think that next year in its entirety will be an enormous transition for me and an eye-opening experience for me in a way I haven’t experienced before,” Resnick said.

Huybrechts said she currently does not have any immediate plans for after her retirement. She said that she would eventually like to explore other areas of teaching and become involved with education in some way.

“Perhaps being appointed Head of Harvard-Westlake was my most favorite memory of the school.  I was so honored to take on that position, and the announcement was truly memorable and lovely for me.  Being associated with a school that’s this wonderful, that’s my favorite part.  I’m so proud to have been with this school.  It would be very hard to say I like only the students or only teachers, because I like them both.  I like teaching, too.  Just the whole of Harvard-Westlake is wonderful.  But, the time is perfect right now for me to retire.  We’re at sort of a pivot point in the school’s history, and I think it’s a good idea to end one era and begin another,” Huybrechts said.

Does Black Friday take the Giving out of Thanksgiving?

By Jessa Glassman’20


Graphic by Remi Patton ’20

After a tiring and busy first few months of school, Thanksgiving break is something we all anticipate because it is our first substantial amount of time off. Many of us get to spend time with our families, near and far. It is a time to give thanks, relax and take a break from school and to be with family. But don’t forget, there is shopping too!

On Black Friday, Americans spend upwards of 50 billion dollars on retail, technology and more. To many people, Black Friday is a highlight of their Thanksgiving break because of the stellar deals and ability to get ahead on winter holiday shopping while being cost effective. Every year store opening times get earlier and earlier. Black Friday used to actually begin on Friday after Thanksgiving after everyone had had time to digest their turkey and get some sleep. Gradually this became less and less the case. It is not uncommon for stores to offer deals on Thanksgiving Day as early as dinnertime, not to mention some sales the entire month of November. With deals like “doorbusters” or “bogo” sales, stores market themselves on any T.V. channel with intriguing commercials that captivate their audience. Many people are deluded and trade spending time with their family at the dinner table for standing in line outside of Target in the cold.

Thanksgiving, a holiday meant to be spent feasting with family, should not be seen as a day with sales or as the day before Black Friday. We all know it is important to give thanks, but it is truly difficult to do that if we are thinking about the new iPad we are planning to buy on sale or if being with family is an after thought. While we might get swept up in the seemingly perfect façade of Black Friday, it is important to step back and take the time to be appreciative. Given the very early starting time of Black Friday, lots of people choose the shops over their family.

Those who skip dinner are not the only ones who are guilty of falling into Black Friday’s trap. Employees at major corporations are offered higher pay to work on Black Friday or even over the holidays in general. Some workers have no choice but to work over the holidays and companies capitalize on this fact by offering higher pay. This further discourages employees from spending the holidays with their families. Those who choose to shop on Black Friday play a part in downgrading Thanksgiving because they do not think about what truly is important.

If we are thinking about shopping for gifts for future holidays, then we are not thinking about the gifts we have already been given and life’s simple presents that we receive each and every day. If shopping is our priority and not Thanksgiving, then we are not pondering the reasons we give thanks but instead thinking about what we plan to purchase. When shoppers hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving, they miss the true value of the holiday and press fast forward onto the winter holidays. The true question that we should ask ourselves come Thanksgiving is what is most important to us. In the moment it might seem like half off heels are more important than a dinner, but shoes easily get worn out while memories last forever.

Even though in a perfect world we wish for amazing deals all the time, it is true that Black Friday is the day with the best sales of the year. Despite this fact, we all have to think about our priorities and values and how we plan to spend the days off, be it with family or shopping. If shopping is the chosen activity, we cannot forget to be grateful, make time to create memories and appreciate all that we have.


DIY Locker Organization & Decorations

By Madison Huggins ’20

The area in which one entrusts their most valuable school possessions, from their science and math textbooks to an array of binders, can often devolve into a terrifying mess of papers and other scattered belongings. But lockers don’t always have to be a mess – in fact, studies have shown that managing a disheveled workplace gives a person 4.3 extra hours of work weekly. This shows the necessity of an organized lifestyle. One way students can keep their locker in pristine condition throughout the school year is to personalize their workplace with DIY projects that will not only assist students in organizational endeavors, but also keep them inspired.

Organization: Spray Painted Locker Shelf

Step 1: Head to an office supply store or the HW Bookstore and purchase a standard locker shelf.

Step 2: Go to any craft store (e.g Michael’s) and purchase spray paint (metallic or matte finish).

Step 3: Apply a minimum of 2 coats.

Step 4: Start Organizing!


Decor: String lights

Step 1: Purchase/ order LED Fairy lights (Make sure to purchase LED because they will have an on/off button easily accessible).

Step 2: Have tape/adhesive on hand.

Step 3: decide on a pattern/ structure of the lights on the roof of locker.

Step 4: Hang Battery box on hook (on side).

Step 5: Place require batteries in box.

Step 6: Turn on and enjoy!


Decor: Faux-laroids (MAYBE if room)

Step 1. Find a photo of your choice.

Step 2. Go to (insert Scan code in corner).

Step 3. Find POLAROID picture in FRAMES section.

Step 4. Size image to your liking → Print out.

Step 5. Take a roll of packing tape + cover the surface of image with strips (at most 2).

Step 6.  Stop by any office supply or craft store to purchase some cute magnets (or reuse old ones).

Step 7. Get creative!  Hang your memories in any way you desire along the walls of your locker.



Worth the Hype- Suicide Squad

By Robert Osborne


“Suicide Squad” is a superhero movie inspired by the DC comic storyline of the same name. In the movie, Amanda Waller, portrayed by Viola Davis, a high-up government official, decides to create a task force to fight crime and save the world. However, the twist is that the team is fully composed of villains because they are expendable, and if anything goes wrong, each member has a bomb placed in their necks that can be set off at any time. The film is directed by David Ayer, the director of movies such as “Fury,” “Training Day” and “The Fast and the Furious.” It was given a budget of $175 million and has a 14-song soundtrack featuring popular artists and a rich cast of actors. Despite it being such a big budget production, it failed to make a big impression on critics with low reviews such as 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. Middle school students have varying opinions about the movie.

“It was a fun movie … the computer generated effects were very impressive and the storyline was easy to follow,” Coco Kaleel ’20 said.

Some students also thought the character development worked well.

“I thought it had a good plot and I liked all of the action scenes, but I think people overhyped the movie. Each of the characters had their own personalities, and you could really tell how they were all their own person. It was good in its own way; it wasn’t over the top and it wasn’t also really bad,” Lupe Lucero ’20 said.

Worth the Hype- Pokemon Go

By Neema Mansouri ’20


“Pokemon Go,” released July 6, is a mobile app based on the popular TV show and the trading card game. Players travel to real life locations and digitally capture Pokemon. For the first two weeks after its release, Nintendo’s stock went up  by 33%. The game was rated No.1 on the Apple store and was played by millions of people.

Some believe the hype was short lived.

“‘Pokemon Go’ was not worth the hype, it took me three days to get over it. It’s just a waste of time, and it’s really trying too hard to get people active, which isn’t something I want to do when playing a video game,” Evan Roderick ‘21 said.

Others believed the game was pointless.

“It was time too time consuming and it got to a point where it was just too repetitive,” Jordan Assil ‘22 said.

While many have gotten over the hype, others are still playing.

“I’ve been playing ‘Pokemon Go’ for around one month, but I still play. If I went out I would check to see if there were any Pokemon nearby, but I wouldn’t really stay on the app,” Emme Kotick ‘20 said.


Girls Golf swings into action

By Tammer Bagdasarian ’20


The varsity girls’ golf team began the season with several division wins and a first place finish in the Mid-Season Tournament on Sept. 20. Program Head Marge Chamberlain made the decision not to include a JV team this year, so the varsity squad is made up of students in ninth through 12th grades. The team began training over the summer and started their season in the fall. The middle school team, a combination of seventh and eighth graders, will start its season in the spring.

The varsity team, which is composed of 14 athletes, competes in the Mission League. The team competes in division games, a mid-season tournament, a final tournament and the CIF championship. So far, the varsity team has a 6-0 record in division games and placed first in the mid season tournament. The team will play its next match on Thursday. Though other schools have dominated the Mission League in recent years, Chamberlain said she is not worried about the competition and is confident in this year’s team.

“I think that we have a really good chance at first place this year. We have a very deep roster this year, and our girls are some of the most talented I’ve seen in my career at Harvard-Westlake,” Chamberlain said.

Although golf is an individual sport, the program encourages camaraderie and teamwork. Daisy Wan ’20 said she shares a sense of unity with the team and believes the team has been working well together.

“I think that all the girls are really supportive of each other and we are all doing our best to help the team. I think it has been a great experience so far,” Wan said.

Even though the team is undefeated, Wan said that nobody wants to get overconfident. The team will play in the league finals starting on Oct. 20 and will participate in the CIF championships starting on Nov. 10.

“We have been playing well so far, but we’re not taking anything for granted. Every day is that day’s performance and anything could happen at any given time,” Wan said.

Last year, the team placed second to Notre Dame High School in the league finals and did not advance past the first round in the CIF tournament. Chamberlain has set a high bar for her team this year and said she believes her team is fully capable of delivering.

“My goal for the team is to place first in the Mission League and advance past the second round in the CIF tournament. I look forward to seeing what these girls can do,” Chamberlain said.

MS Swim

dsc_0018Caroline Sturgeon ’20

This year’s middle school swim team kicked off to a great start with a win against Buckley on Sept. 28, with Olivia Baer ’21 and Shay Gillearn ’21 each finished first in their respective 100-meter freestyle races. The Wolverines finished first in both boys’ and girls’ relays.

Last year the girls’ team finished first, making them Delphic League Champions two years in a row, and the boys finished second. On Oct. 10, the girls’ squad had a meet at Marlborough, but results were unavailable as of press time

“We entered this season with the goal of winning both the boys and girls Delphic League titles,” head coach and seventh grade dean Jon Carroll said.

In addition to the team finishing first, Carroll said he wishes to make a few changes to the program.

“I think we swam really well at the championship meet [last year] and came up just a little short due to depth. So the change for this year is to make sure we make the best use of the additional depth we have on both the girls’ and boys’ sides this year,” Carroll said.

Many of last year’s strong eighth grade swimmers, such as Adam Copses ’20 and Namlhun Jachung ’20, moved on to the upper school squads.

“We are fortunate to have replaced many of the point scorers from last year with swimmers capable of filling that void this year. It’s going to be very exciting,” Carroll said.

In addition, the team gained swimmer Ronald Dalmacio ’22, whose times made him the number one ranked 11-year-old in the country last year.

The team goes into their next meet against Oaks Christian on Thursday.


Upper School Field Hockey

By Eugean Choi ‘21


The middle school field hockey team practices after school. Credit: Eugean Choi ’21

The upper school field hockey program, made up of freshmen, JV, and varsity squads, has begun the year with a strong start. Program head and English teacher Erin Creznic said that these teams have hit the ground running.

“I think we will have a fantastic year. … A lot of my players are the same from last year, and they are a great group. We already had a strong start. Next year is [also] going to be amazing because there are only five seniors this year,” Creznic said.

The varsity squad currently has a record of 12-1-3. Their most recent victory was on Oct. 7, with a score of 1-0. There are 16 players on the varsity team, and they practice every day during the week. Even though five players will be leaving at the end of the year, the friendship between the teammates will continue.

“Everyone on the team is so close. We spent a lot of time together before school started, so we went into school with strong relationships with each other. We had a lot of bonding time in Florida and during preseason. Our team is like a family,” varsity sweeper Erin Lee ’18 said.

The JV team has a record of 6-1-4. Their recent tie was at Glendora High School with a score of 0-0. Their last league game of the season will be on Homecoming against Bonita High School.

“In terms of the future of this season, it is almost over, but I know for the JV team, a lot of us hope to win the rest of the league games and to hopefully win the league championship,” JV center forward Sam Yeh ’20 said.

The freshmen team has an overall record of 3-0-4. Their last league game was on Oct. 6 against Bonita High School, with a score of 0-0. However, even with the burden of trying to win the league championship, the players on the freshmen team still balance homework with their schedule. Many have learned how to manage time more efficiently, given the lack of time with a sport in addition to school, though this has been hard for the many new ninth graders that have shown interest in field hockey this year.

“It was definitely one of my best decisions to join field hockey this year. Everyone is super welcoming, and while it takes up a lot of time, it’s easy to balance it [with] homework as long as you manage your time efficiently… it works,” midfield freshmen Katie Mumford ’20 said.

The team also has a new coach, Dezirae Hall, who currently works as a personal trainer and has been helping the players improve on speed and strength, as well as on specific field hockey techniques.

“I was excited to find Dezirae … I hope she will help us get us more fit and improve as an overall team,” Creznic said.

The teams all hope to make it to playoffs during this year. Students hope to win league games and the league championships. Especially this year, the students on the freshmen, JV, and varsity teams feel that the bond between is strong.

“Though they don’t see each other much, all the teams cheer each other on, and the older kids help the lower teams. I’m really glad that this is happening; the varsity players are really helpful to the younger teams,” Creznic said.


Schlom rejoins community

By Jessa Glassman ’20
Schlom poses for a picture while she sits by her desk at her office. Credit: Jessa Glassman ’20

Marla Schlom rejoined the school community as an Advancement Administrator shortly after the start of the school year.

She previously worked at CalWest Educators Placement as the Operations Coordinator, and as a costume designer for television and movies before that. She also has been a dessert caterer and managed local café Sweet Butter.

Schlom was involved with the school board at her children’s elementary schools. She said she decided to take a job at the school because she loves the sense of home and togetherness.

“I have been very involved in the Harvard-Westlake community. I have two kids, my daughter [Emily Smith] was valedictorian in 2007 and my son [Hunter Spinks] graduated from here in 2009.” Schlom said.

Schlom now works in the Booth Administration building to process gifts and donations.

“Ms. Schlom is a welcome addition to the Office of Advancement and I couldn’t have asked for anyone more qualified for her position. Being a parent of two graduates, she is very familiar with the school. She’s happy to be back as an employee and I’m very happy to be working with her,” Senior Advancement Administrator Brenda Janowitz said.


Pak has first daughter

By Astor Wu ’20
Credit: Posted with permission of Kyong Pak

History teacher Kyong Pak gave birth to a baby girl on June 12. Born in Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Stella Soo-Hyun Spraggs weighed 8 pounds 7 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Pak said she has been spending a lot of time in the past few months caring for Stella.

“The first few months have flown by! She is an easygoing baby, happy, calm, and sleeps a lot!” Pak said in an email.

Pak also has a two-year-old son named Spencer. Pak said she has been taking her time off to adapt to her busier life with two kids.

“Having two kids has made daily life a constant juggle! At times it can be exhausting. But, there are also really funny and sweet moments. You find a balance between being really organized and also going with the flow. Something unexpected always happens,” Pak said.

During Pak’s maternity leave, substitute teacher Rebecca Strong is teaching Pak’s classes.

Pak said she has missed her students, the faculty, and the energy of school. She plans to return to campus on Nov. 28, after Thanksgiving break.