For the first time ever, the Harvard-Westlake (HW) student body has elected two female Head Prefects.
Current Junior Prefects Jade Stanford ’22 and Quincey Dern ’22 were elected on April 20 by the Class of 2022 and Class of 2023 to serve as Head Prefects for the 2021-2022 school year.
In an email to the Upper School student body, Prefect Council announced Stanford and Dern as the winners of the Head Prefect election.
“Congratulations to Jade Stanford and Quincey Dern for being elected Head Prefects for the 2021-2022 school year!” the email said. “We are confident they will lead the school in a positive direction as we emerge from this pandemic and return to school in the fall.”
Stanford said the HW community means so much to her, so she is appreciative that the community placed trust in her to serve as Head Prefect.
“I feel so honored to have been elected Head Prefect,” Stanford said. “HW and this community mean so much to me and I’m so appreciative they had faith in me to represent them. I’m so excited to work with Quincey, and the rest of the Council, to make the school the best place it can be for all of you.”
Dern expressed that she feels overcome with emotion to have been elected Head Prefect, and is excited to get to work.
“I am overjoyed and truly honored to be a Head Prefect,” Dern said. “I have such a deep appreciation and love for our school community. I am overcome with emotion that my peers could feel this confident in me to uphold such a high position. Working with Jade, my good friend, has been amazing and I am thrilled to make a close team of kind and welcoming Prefects!”
As Head Prefects, Stanford and Dern will lead Prefect Council, made up of next year’s Senior, Junior and Sophomore Prefects, as well as chair the Honor Board, the Upper School’s disciplinary body.
Before 2019, there had to be one female and one male Head Prefect, as well as two male Prefects/Senators and two female Prefects/Senators. However, starting in 2019, elections for Head Prefect, Prefect and Senator are now determined by the number of votes each candidate receives, regardless of gender. Since then, there have been three Head Prefect elections, with this year’s being the first where two students of the same gender were elected.
Unlike Senators and Prefects, Head Prefects aren’t just elected by their grade. Head Prefects are elected through two rounds of elections – one primary election where any junior can run, then after the junior class singles down the field to four candidates, one general election where both the junior and sophomore class vote.
Keith Jordan, the Middle School Director of Student Affairs, advised Stanford and Dern when they served on Student Council at the Middle School and said he believes the student body is in excellent hands with them as Head Prefects.
“I know, without a moment’s hesitation, that Jade and Quincey will do an amazing job as Head Prefects,” Jordan said. “I was lucky enough to work with both of them as Senators. They were thoughtful, caring, and hard-working leaders then and they still are today. The student body is in excellent hands.”
Natasha Clement ’24, one of the leaders of the Middle School’s Girls Club & Friends, stated that Stanford and Dern’s election represents the improvements HW has made in gender equality.
“Their election represents how far the school has come in terms of gender equality,” Clement said. “Although there is still work to be done, it is a wonderful step forward.”
Nyla Shelton ’24, one of the leaders of the Middle School’s Asian American Culture Club, said that two women of color being elected Head Prefect means much more than just who the Head Prefects will be next year.
“I am truly happy about the election of Jade and Quincey as Head Prefects,” Shelton said. “When the world so often shows us that leadership looks a certain way, it’s refreshing and heartening to see leadership take in a different way, particularly in the election of two women of color.”