Head Prefects chosen for coming school year in historic election

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History made.

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 and feels honored 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 with Dern and the rest of Prefect Council.

“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, in its work and meetings. Stanford and Dern will also chair the Honor Board, the a School’s Honor Code disciplinary body made up of Prefects, Deans, and teachers.

Sharon Cuseo, an Upper School Dean and Prefect Council Advisor, said she is thrilled that Jade and Quincey will serve as Head Prefects next year both because of their making of history and the leadership traits and skills they possess.

“Personally, I am thrilled to have two students who identify as female as Head Prefects for the first time ever,” Cuseo said. “And I’m even more thrilled that it’s Jade and Quincey. They are experienced, wise, compassionate, organized, committed and just fun to work with. I believe it’s going to be a great year back on campus!”

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 for each grade. However, starting in 2019, elections for Head Prefect, Prefect and Senator are now determined by the number of votes each candidate receives, regardless of their gender identity. 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.”

Karen Fukushima, a Middle School Dean and former Dean to Stanford and Dern, said she looks forward to their leadership in such a consequential year following a year mostly spent in quarantine.

“I am really looking forward to the leadership that Jade and Quincey will bring to our school,” Fukushima said. “I have known Jade and Quincey since their days at the Middle School and they have always put community and their classmates first. After a difficult year of isolation, I am looking forward to their leadership and guidance in building up our community. The student body has chosen wisely.”

Yoshimi Kimura ’23, one of the current Sophomore Prefects and Junior Prefects-elect, said based on her experiences on Prefect Council with Stanford and Dern, she knows they’ll be great Head Prefects.

“I’m beyond happy for Quincey and Jade’s election!” Kimura said. “Quincey and Jade are two of the most capable and empathetic people I know, and I’m super excited to get the privilege to work with them again next year. They have that perfect balance of fun and responsible and I know they’ll make sure our complete return to campus marks the start of the best year yet!”

Student leaders of Middle School affinity groups on campus also expressed excitement at the historic nature of Stanford and Dern’s election.

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.”