Armenian Parent Group and Cinema Sundays presents THE PROMISE

March 17, 2024

The Harvard-Westlake Armenian Parent Group and Cinema Sundays sponsored a special screening of THE PROMISE in Ahmanson Lecture Hall. Produced by Eric Esrailian P'10 P'12, THE PROMISE is set during the Armenian Genocide at the end of the Ottoman Empire.

GSA Lavender Soirée

February 16, 2024

Upper School Gender and Sexuality Alliance invited fellow LGBTQIA+ students from around the area to a semi formal dance. Beyond the dance floor there was catering, foosball, air hockey, giant Jenga, Nintendo, and a lipsync battle…all opportunities to make new friends!

BLACC hosts Actor Kareem Grimes

February 8, 2024

At a Junior Assembly BLACC Leader Tiffany Armour ‘25 and BLACC Advisor Dr. Erik C. Wade interviewed Kareem Grimes about his experiences working with a black female showrunner powerhouse such as Nkechi Okoro Carroll, on screen representation, and his heroes from Black History.

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn: Japan Faculty Fellowship Trip

February 1, 2024

Faculty, Staff, and a few members of the Japanese American Group gathered to hear stories, see photos, and view a documentary about the summer 2023 Faculty Fellowship to Japan; Miyajima Island, Hiroshima, Nara, Kyoto, Nagano, and Tokyo.

One JAG parent said the following, “I think it is the greatest honor when someone is interested enough in Japanese culture to travel to Japan to learn about aspects like religion, and are open to trying everything. The presentation was truly moving, an Oscar-worthy film, and the faculty show & tell was super sweet and funny. I didn't anticipate becoming emotional, but the connection to my family's roots in Hiroshima evoked feelings of sadness and a sense of shame that I haven't felt in over thirty years, not since my visit to the Hiroshima Museum. Thank you for the invitation to such a heartfelt presentation and the yummy bento box lunch.”

Watch Reb L Limerick’s 20 minute Travelogue Documentary here

World Languages Week

January 21, 2024

Pictured above, LAHSO leaders teach their peers a Latin line dance. This was just one of the many events that occurred on the quad during World Languages Week. Everyday students could get their “passports” stamped by attending events such as Bollywood dance class, flag face painting, Armenian line dancing, the Chinese class singing performance, a bachata and salsa dancing class, la bomba afro-caribbean dance performance, or by wearing a toga on greek and roman day, or an international jersey, an t-shirt, or hat.

MESA holds fundraiser for education for Afghani Girls

January 16, 2024

Upper School Middle Eastern Student Association hosted a fundraiser to ensure education for Afghani Girls through the organization SOLA.

All-School Speaker: Shabana Basij-Rasikh

January 8, 2024

Shabana Basij-Rasikh visited the Middle and Upper schools to share her inspiring story and the value of education. She lived in Afghanistan when the Taliban seized control when she was only 6 years old. This culminated in a time where women couldn’t leave the house unaccompanied or without proper covering. Shabana and other family members and friends risked their lives and well-being to educate their daughters with secret schools. At the age of 18, she founded SOLA to ensure women were educated in her homeland. After Kabul fell to the Taliban in 2021 she relocated to Rwanda and SOLA has continued to operate as a boarding school for Afghan girls. The return of the Taliban marks a period of repression and major education inequities. It is Shabana Basij-Rasikh’s life’s work to continue to provide academic opportunities to Afghan girls and spread awareness about the value of education.

SLIDE, Prefect Council, and Performing Arts collaborate on Winterfest

December 14, 2023

SLIDE, Prefect Council, and Performing Arts collaborated on Winterfest, creating a narrative where Mr. Commons and students teach Buddy the Wolverine the meaning of winter. With live jazz, songs, dances, videos, affinity group presentations on Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Armenian Christmas, and ending with a reindeer bull ride, our community was certainly entertained and educated.

LatinX Employee Affinity Group Holiday Gathering

December 12, 2023

Our LatinX employee resource group gathered on the Casa Vega patio to celebrate holidays and comuidad.

AAPI Employee Affinity Group Holiday Gathering

December 12, 2023

Our Asian American Pacific Islander employee resource group gathered at someone’s home for music, food, connection, and holiday cheer!

LGBTQ+ Jingle & Mingle Ugly Sweater All Community Party

December 9, 2023

HW Pride & HW Alumni hosted an LGBTQ+ Jingle & Mingle Ugly Sweater All Community Party at a beautiful home, which featured holiday cheer in the forms of food, drink, photos, laughter, moving speeches, and live music from Angela Parrish, who sang the opening number in the movie La La Land. Winter can be wonderful even in Los Angeles.

Brown Bag Lunch: Joy as a Practice

December 8, 2023

“Please join us for our first Brown Bag Lunch and Learn of the year when we actively delve into one aspect of our mission statement: JOY... just in time for the Holiday season. How can we consistently center Joy in our work as educators and administrators, working hard to foster spaces of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and wellness at HW?! As we count the days until winter break, we can easily kick into auto-pilot, or find ourselves grumbling and leaning into negativity. Instead, let's dedicate one lunch period to practicing gratitude and actively finding joy in our daily work through engaging with Black joy, Trans joy, and community joy.”

SLIDE workshop during Sophomore Advisory

November 15, 2023

SLIDE Co-Chairs and leaders of all 18 Upper School affinity groups visited the 20 Sophomore Advisory classes to do a presentation on identity, representation, and resources. Sophomores engaged in bonding activities and critical self-reflection, and watched a video where they learned about all the affinity groups on campus and had another opportunity to sign up. Watch our “SLIDE the Compliment” video for sophomores here.

CHAI Bowling Night

November 3, 2023

Our parent affinity group CHAI (Cultural Heritage & Arts of India) had lots of laughs at their Bowling Night Extravaganza! Parents, kids, and friends joined together for a night of family fun and bonding.

9th Grade Visit to the Museum of Tolerance

October 25, 2023

Our 9th graders visited the Museum of Tolerance, and it couldn’t have been more timely and powerful. They spent the morning touring the museum with respect and focus beyond their years in visiting the emotional Holocaust Exhibit which focuses on the 1920s to 1945 to become witnesses to the events in Nazi-dominated Europe during WWII and the tremendous Social Lab which features six different exhibits focused on major issues of intolerance that are part of daily life such as antisemitism, the struggle for civil rights, the world refugee crisis, climate change, immigration, and homelessness to name a select few.

Beyond XX and XY in Honors Evolution & Ecology

October 24, 2023

In his Honors Evolution & Ecology class, Upper School Science teacher Dr. Ellingson gave students a case study about a female runner who was stripped of a silver medal after failing a “gender” test requested by her opponent. A follow-up homework assignment presented a similar, more recent incident in athletics. Dr. Ellingson then facilitated a class discussion about the gender binary that dominates competitive sports, recognizing how the nuanced reality of biological sex determination doesn’t fit into a simple binary. This annual lesson always raises tough questions and offers opportunities for self-reflection, compassion, and more expansive understanding.

Dror Yaron presents about the history of Israel and Palestine

October 23, 2023

Gathering all grade levels in the gym, Middle East Studies teacher Dror Yaron gave a 1 hour historical lecture about the history of Israel and Palestine, offering helpful context for how we got to where we are today, in the midst of the Israel-Hamas war.

Student Presentations at Pollyanna Conference

October 21, 2023

SLIDE Co-Chair and MIxD Leader Nilufer Mistry Sheasby ‘24 and 1st Generation and Immigrant Allies Founder Natalie Ascorra ‘24 spoke alongside other passionate student leaders from other schools at our 7th Annual Pollyanna Conference. This year’s theme was “Addressing Hate with Intention: Thoughtfully Combatting Attempts to Divide.” In this robust, brave, and inspiring student presentation, students outlined the importance of affinity groups to build community and the vitality of affinity group student leaders partnering with adults on campus to swiftly and thoughtfully respond to incidents of hate and bias.

Jewish Club Fundraiser for Magen David Adom and Doctors Without Borders

October 19, 2023

Jewish Club held a successful fundraiser to gather funds for the Israeli Red Cross. From their website, “In the United States, disaster relief, ambulance, and blood services are handled by an array of organizations. In Israel, there’s one organization that does it all — Magen David Adom. When you support Magen David Adom, you are helping save lives, every day.” Jewish Club also printed QR codes for students to have an option to donate to Doctors Without Borders, who is currently supplying aid to civilians in Gaza.

Bin He attends Language Advocacy Action Day Event in D.C.

October 16, 2023

Upper School World Languages Teacher Bin He represented Harvard-Westlake at the Language Advocacy Action Day Event in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL). This unique event is exclusively for 100 language educators from across the country to engage with federal legislators on Capitol Hill and advocate for crucial language education legislation.

Arlene Director Schnitzer ’47 Visiting Artist Zora J Murff

October 16, 2023

The Middle School Visual Arts Department invites you to join us in Saperstein Theatre and Wang Hall for the installation, discussion, exhibit, workshop and all-school assembly for this year’s Arlene Director Schnitzer ’47 Visiting Artist Zora J Murff. His ongoing gallery exhibition is titled “The Propagation of Divisive Concepts.” Zora J Murff is an artist and educator interested in liberation from anti-Blackness. Murff uses his creative practice to explore the provocative politics of stereotypes and other forms of Black misrepresentations we consume through imagery. During Murff’s artist talk he spoke plainly about the etymology and long history of the N-word. The all-school activities around this artist provide an understanding of voice, sense of community, and source of inspiration.


October 15, 2023

Upper School Gender and Sexuality Alliance organized with Middle School GSA to take a group of students and chaperones downtown to walk in solidarity with those living with HIV and AIDS, and raised over $1,000 for LGBTQIA+ Healthcare for the HW GSA Team.

Affinity Group Leader and Advisor Training

October 1, 2023

Upper and Middle School student affinity group leaders and their adult advisors dedicated their whole Sunday to learning how to be more thoughtful, organized, and inclusive leaders. Dr. Carroll facilitated interactive activities and important discussions around identity and leadership.

LAHSO hosts Hispanic Heritage Month Events

September 29, 2023

Upper School Latin American Hispanic Student Organization hosted a week of events to honor Hispanic Heritage Month. Students flocked to LAHSO’s booth to eat arepas covered in salsa, donate to UnidosUS, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, try different flavors of Jarritos, dance to Bad Bunny, and take a swing at the pinata.

The HW Korean American Alumni Network’s Chuseok Celebration

September 27, 2023

A Night of Korean Traditional Art, Culture, and Food at E.K. Art Gallery (Tony Kim ’91.) To celebrate Korean Thanksgiving, or Chuseok, HWKAAN invited the larger community to join them for a special evening of alumni speakers on Korean traditional art, history, music, and food. Sharon Lee Clark ’02 shared art, Phil Cuddy ’73 presented on Korean History, Han Kim led and performed drumming, and Brian Lee ’05 talked about food history. It was a delicious and enriching event celebrating Korean/Korean American art and culture, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Photos by Sam de Castro Abeger.

Affinity Groups represent at Upper School Activities Fair

September 22, 2023

This year we have 18 different affinity groups for students to join at the Upper School. Affinity groups help students to celebrate their identities, learn more about others' cultures, and create a deeper sense of belonging on our campus. Pictured here is Armenian Club sharing music, food, history, and fun facts with the community in hopes of garnering signups for their group.

SLIDE Leadership Development Program

June 26-28, 2023

For our second annual SLIDE LDP, students explored the theme “Centering Joy and Peace in Our Work as Leaders.” As DEI practitioners, we realize that this work in the DEI space can be frustrating, demoralizing, and grueling. Thus, we wanted to teach our students an important lesson that we didn’t learn until much later in life: they can create moments of joy, rest, and peace for themselves. And not only can they give themselves permission to do this, but this rest, joy, and peace are actually parts of the DEI work because those spaces were often denied to so many marginalized people. With guest speakers Dubbs Weinblatt and Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggets, daily JAM (Joy as Activism Me time) Sessions, DEI Case Studies, Leadership Modules, and more, students grappled with tough DEI topics all while remembering to give themselves space for joy along the way.

DEI Office's Field Trip to Auschwitz Exhibit at Reagan Library

May 28, 2023

Students and chaperones went on a field trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley for an immersive view of the history of Auschwitz. “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. brings together more than 700 original objects of great historic and human value; objects which were direct witnesses of the horrors of Auschwitz and the Holocaust. These objects serve as the guiding thread of a rigorous and moving account of the history of the German Nazi camp Auschwitz and its dwellers, both victims and perpetrators.”

AACC and JLCC visit the Japanese American National Museum

May 22, 2023

Middle School Asian American Culture Club (AACC) and JLCC (Japanese Language and Culture Club) visited the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. Our students and chaperones had a wonderful time learning history outside of the classroom. “Don't Fence Me In: Coming of Age in America's Concentration Camps explores the experiences of Japanese American youth who asserted their place as young Americans confronting the injustice of being imprisoned in concentration camps during World War II and embarking on the universal journey into adolescence.”

Upper School Speaker: Jonathan Greenblatt

May 22, 2023

Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, spoke to the entire Upper School about standing up against Antisemitism and Hate in all forms.

Annual Multicultural Fairs on both campuses

May 18 and 19, 2023

Middle School and Upper School SLIDE hosted the annual Multicultural Fair for the whole community! This engaging, educational, and fun student-run event took place outside on the quad and the Commons. There were different stations, each consisting of tables with food, games, crafts, swag, and information, hosted by our student affinity groups. There was food from around the world generously donated by parent affinity groups, a food truck, a bunny pen for the Year of the Rabbit, student made world language magazines, a raffle, a piñata, cultural dance and music performances, and more. It was a joyous celebration of the many cultures and identities represented within our school community!

Upper School Speaker: Rayman Mathoda

May 15, 2023

SASA, GSA, Empower, and WOC hosted Rayman Mathoda to speak to all Juniors and Seniors. Rayman is a Princeton Alumni and Indian CEO who has successfully led and transformed 5 different companies in the last 10 years, 2 of which were subsequently sold to Fortune 500 buyers. In addition, Rayman is a lesbian, mother, and wife and has been fighting for LGBTQ rights, personally and globally, for decades.

Alejandro Lombard becomes a Presidential Scholar in the Arts for his Documentary “Seeking Asylum”

May 9, 2023

Alejandro Lombard ’23 created a powerful documentary “Seeking Asylum” about a family who goes through the unthinkable on their journey to the U.S.-Mexico border for his HW Junior Summer Fellowship project. “My motivation for making this documentary is to help reframe the narrative of immigration and asylum in this country by telling a personal story of a family’s journey,” Lombard said in an interview with The Chronicle. Alejandro borrowed equipment from his HW Video Art classroom, and visited the U.S.-Mexico border with the organizations This is About Humanity, Tijuana Sin Hambre, International Community Foundation and Movimiento Juventud. Because of his film “Seeking Asylum,” Alejandro Lombard went on to be named a 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, alongside two other Harvard-Westlake student artists, Fallon Dern ’23, and Raisa Effress ’23, an honor only awarded to 20 students in the country across all visual and performing arts mediums!

Watch Seeking Asylum here:

Inaugural HW Heritage Festival

May 5, 2023

Harvard-Westlake families gathered on a Sunday afternoon on Ted Slavin field for the inaugural Heritage Festival! Parent affinity groups set up booths with cuisine, information, activities, and local food trucks to represent the mosaic of cultures that make up our diverse community. Student and professional dance and musical performances took place on the outdoor stage, while people of all ages danced and sang along. This no-cost celebration was an opportunity to gather as a community, welcome new families, and share our myriad cultures with one another. [Photo from the HW Ohana booth]


April 15, 2023

The BLACC OUT Dance was a fun night of music, connection, and cultural celebration hosted by our Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club for high school students all around LA.

GSA Spring Blooming Dance

April 14, 2023

Upper School GSA hosted the Blooming Spring dance, open to 9th through 12th grade students from around LA who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies! The night featured a lip sync contest, dancing, prizes, a plethora of games from video games to air hockey to card games to Jenga, delicious foods, and lots of rainbows!

Choral-Orchestral Carnegie Hall Kick-Off Concert at Emmanuel Lutheran Church

March 24, 2023

Reasons why this concert is special:

  1. It's a preview of our upcoming historic Carnegie Hall performance on 3/28/23.
  2. It features our students and faculty performing a work that has not been heard at Carnegie Hall since 1915 (Hiawath's Wedding Feast by Coleridge-Taylor).
  3. All of the music for this concert is by Black and Indigenous composers - to my knowledge, this is a first in HW history.
  4. It features a world premiere performance of an orchestral work by a NY-based Indigenous composer that Harvard-Westlake commissioned especially for this concert (Indigenous/Undigenous by Davids)
  5. It features a world premiere performance of an arrangement by a Harvard-Westlake teacher (Lift Every Voice and Sing, arr. Robles)

- Dr. Zanaida Stewart Robles, Upper School Performing Arts Faculty

Mindy Kaling at Westflix Film Festival

March 17, 2023

At the 20th Annual Westflix Film Festival, a celebration of short films made by California teens, hosted and curated by Harvard-Westlake School, two students sat on stage at the historic Million Dollar Theater and interviewed writer, actor, producer, and comedian Mindy Kaling. Student Festival Directors Grace Belgrader ‘23 and Will Chandrasekhar ‘23 asked Kaling thoughtful questions about South Asian and female representation in Hollywood and her journey breaking barriers and telling stories with flawed relatable characters, to an audience of over 700 young aspiring filmmakers and their families and supporters.

Southern California Diversity Recruiting Fair

March 4, 2023

An annual fair for faculty, staff, and administrators from underrepresented groups interested in working in independent schools. The 2023 hybrid DRF offered attendees opportunities to learn about working in an independent school and speak with representatives about open positions, whether candidates were local to the Los Angeles area and attending in person, or connecting with us virtually from a different part of the country! The fair also included 15-minute panels on teaching in an independent school; diversity, equity, and inclusion in education; and working as an administrator in an independent school. The day kicked off with an inspiring keynote address from Carla Cretaro, Head of the Lower School for the John Thomas Dye School.

Brian Hertz leads support sessions for Jewish students and allies

February 23, 2023

Brian Hertz from AJC to join us for five afternoons until the end of this school year to provide additional support for all of our Jewish students and allies (meaning all are welcome). Brian Hertz is American Jewish Committee's Assistant Director of ACCESS Global. In this role, he empowers Jewish leaders to advocate on behalf of critical domestic and global issues facing the Jewish community. Hertz graduated from UCLA with a degree in Psychobiology, and draws extensively from his educational experiences around conflict resolution and human interaction. Hertz has worked with many Jewish organizations, as well as several LGBTQ+ organizations, to bring new voices into their work and to deepen their community impact. He is currently based in Los Angeles.

Upper School Community Time Speaker: Joy Harjo

February 16, 2023

In 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs. In 2023, Harjo came to Harvard-Westlake School to share her poetry, wisdom, stories, and presence with our community.

The Business of Life Talks Presents Victoria Pearson ‘12

February 10, 2023

Joshua Cheng ‘23 invited alum Victoria Pearson '12 to visit his Business: A Metacognitive Approach class as a guest speaker. Pearson shared specific advice from her path to success: interview techniques, how to ask for help, the power of “no” and manifestation, and how to challenge yourself while taking care of yourself. She spoke about her experiences at HW and in the professional world through the lens of her identity. Victoria Pearson (PSM) is an experienced RTE, Program Manager, Project Manager, and Scrum Master for product implementations / integrations of large-scale technology. She has worked at notable organizations such as Disney as well as small businesses.

HWinterfest during Upper School Community Time

December 15, 2022

This year Student Leaders for Inclusion Diversity and Equity (SLIDE,) Prefect Council, and the Performing Arts Department collaborated to make the annual Upper School HWinterfest not only entertaining and filled with holiday cheer, but also more diverse and inclusive! Jewish Club told the true history of Hannukah, Armenian Club shared a musical Armenian Christmas tradition, BLACC programmed a speech and dance to celebrate Kwanzaa, LAHSO made a video interviewing underrepresented staff members about their favorite holiday traditions and so much more. The production, which was thematically curated into three acts: Renewal, Gratitude, and Community, featured original monologues, live instrumental music, singing, dancing, video, educational speeches, and poetry from students, faculty, and staff.

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn: Faculty Fellowship trip to the American South

December 13, 2022

Faculty and Staff joined together for the 2nd Brown Bag Lunch and Learn of the year! Folks from both campuses enjoyed lunch courtesy of the DEI Office as we heard from our colleagues about their powerful summer fellowship trip. Underwritten by a generous donation from the Kutler family and in support of the Kutler Center’s mission to cultivate and sustain interdisciplinary studies and independent research at Harvard-Westlake, this year’s faculty fellowship offered the opportunity to explore African-American culture in the American South with a focus on 20th century civil rights movements, music, cuisine, and religion. The fellowship traveled by bus throughout the South in June 2022, visiting many historic sites including Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, The Legacy Museum and Lynching Memorial in Montgomery, AL, Congo Square in New Orleans, LA, Royal Studios in Memphis, TN, and many others. The group was ushered through these cities by countless guides and griots whose knowledge and narratives breathed life into the group.

EMPOWER presents…Robbie Brenner

December 8, 2022

Upper School Empower invited Academy-Award-nominated filmmaker and Executive Producer of Mattel Films Robbie Brenner to speak to students about her support for a greater representation of female leaders and their perspectives in the film industry. She shared her experience producing her recent film, Call Jane (2022), about a group of women who provided underground abortions in Chicago in the 1960s, as well as the new Barbie movie which empowers women to appreciate the beauty in unconventionality.

EMPOWER, Venture, and HWSAA present… Julia Boorstin ‘96

November 29, 2022

Upper School Empower hosted CNBC’s Senior Media & Tech Correspondent and Harvard-Westlake alum, Julia Boorstin ‘96, as a keynote speaker in collaboration with Harvard-Westlake Venture and Student Alumni Association. Boorstin discussed her experience writing her new book When Women Lead about influential stories of successful female leaders in business and shared her inclusive vision of empowering women to close the gender gap.

US Jewish Club presents…Emily Schrader and Yoseph Haddad

November 18, 2022

Upper School Jewish Club leaders and advisor invited Emily Schrader, CEO and co-founder of the digital marketing firm Social Lite Creative and former digital director of StandWithUs, and her husband, Yoseph Haddad, CEO of Together Vouch for Each Other to speak with students and faculty during lunch on Friday. Image pulled from their Youtube Channel “Headlines with the Haddads.”

All-Community Webinar: Jeffrey Abrams of the Anti-Defamation League

November 14, 2022

In response to recent antisemitic events around the country and in our community, and as part of our intensified efforts to educate our community and combat antisemitism everywhere, Rick Commons invited the entire school community to tune in on Monday evening, November 14th, at 6:30 p.m. for a webinar with Jeffrey Abrams, Director of the Los Angeles region of the Anti-Defamation League.

Till Movie Screening with BLACC

November 6, 2022

Community members attended a weekend morning screening of Chinonye Chukwus’ new movie Till at Cinemark Baldwin Hills. The film is based on the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who was brutally lynched in 1955 while visiting family in Mississippi by way of Chicago. A regular trip taken by African Americans following The Great Migration sadly turned tragic and became the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. After the powerful film, everyone stayed for a 45-minute Q&A led by student-leaders from BLACC, moderated by Erik C. Wade, PhD, BLACC Co-Advisor and History/ISIR Instructor.

LAHSO on the Quad for Hispanic Heritage Month and Día de Los Muertos

October and November, 2022

US LAHSO (Upper School Latinx Hispanic Student Organization) put on a week-long celebration on the Quad for Hispanic Heritage Month. It started with a fundraiser for the Hispanic Federation, an organization supporting Puerto Rico with hurricane relief. The rest of the week consisted of free goodies on the quad and music. This ranged from arroz con leche (rice pudding), pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread), and horchata. It culminated with an upper school favorite, a piñata on the quad. On the first two days of November, HW students honored Día de Los Muertos in such beautiful ways around campus. LAHSO leaders set up an ofrenda on the quad and distributed Pan de Muerto, a traditional sweet bread that is commonly made during Day of the Dead. And Spanish V students made barriletes to celebrate the Day of the Dead as it's celebrated in Guatemala.

Upper School Theatre Department presents…Jeff Mack

October 25, 2022

The Upper School Theatre team invited Jeff Mack, Matthew Shepard Foundation Executive Vice President, to share Matthew’s story and vigor for civil rights as they work to put a stop to hate crimes in America.

Upper School Community Time Speaker: Ben M. Freeman

October 25, 2022

Our students, faculty, and staff couldn’t get enough of Ben M. Freeman, Jewish author, educator, and DEI specialist who came to speak in Taper about antisemitism, hate speech, and how communities can grow “from prejudice to pride.” Everyone gathered in the gym and listened as Freeman spoke with such passion and vulnerability, sharing his story of identity and pride as a Jewish, gay man. Our Jewish students felt uplifted in their Jewish pride and history. It was exactly what our community needed to unite together in the shared fight against antisemitism.

Annual KAPA Banquet

October 16, 2022

On Sunday, October 16, at the Oxford Hotel in Los Angeles, KAPA held their annual banquet. Because of the Pandemic it has been 3 years since the last celebration was shared with our school community. Jennifer Kim P’21 '24'26, 2022-23 KAPA President hosted over 200 guests who included parents, students, members from the HW leadership team along with faculty/staff members. It was a fantastic event that provided entertainment from students/adult advisors. Many thanks to the esteemed KAPA Committee members (volunteer parents) who helped to make the event possible.

Woman King screening with PAAHWS

October 16, 2022

On Sunday, October 16, the powerful movie Woman King was shared with over 250 HW guests who included parents, students, alums, spouses of alums, faculty/staff, administrators, and parents of alums. Janine Jones moderated a fabulous panel with Gina Prince Blyewood P’19’22 and Nicole Brown Heisler ’98. Zoila Paniagua ’23’26 LAPA Co-Chair helped tremendously to make it possible for everyone to enjoy. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Gina will be nominated in the category of Best Director for the upcoming Academy Awards; never before has there been an African-American woman nominated in that category in the history of the Academy Awards.

Diversity Council Interview Training with Robert Greene

October 6, 2022

Our Diversity Council partook in a training with CEO/Principal of Cedar & Burwell Strategic Consulting Robert Greene on bias-aware, bias-resistant, and bias-resilient interviewing practices.

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn: Passing

September 28-29, 2022

Colleagues on both campuses enjoyed Sweetgreen for lunch courtesy of the DEI Office during the first Brown Bag Lunch and Learn events of the year. These lunch-time book club discussions, led by English Department Faculty members and a few Senior students, focused upon the novel Passing by Nella Larsen, written in 1929 yet still so relevant and poignant today. Passing was not only our DEI Summer Read, but is also a part of the 11th grade English curriculum (Odysseys and Revolutions). Faculty and staff had three opportunities to gather and dig into themes of race, class, gender, sexuality, and more through thought-provoking communal discussions of this beautiful novel.

Affinity Groups at Upper School Activities Fair

September 22, 2022

105 student organizations, clubs, and affinity groups set up tables around the track with signs and snacks and sign-up sheets in hopes of gaining awareness and increasing membership! The identity-based groups whose leaders comprise US SLIDE this year are pictured above: Armenian Club, Asian Students in Action, Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club, Diversability: Overcoming Inequality Together!, Empower, Gender Sexuality Alliance, Jewish Club, Japanese Language and Culture Club, Latin-American/Hispanic Student Organization, Middle Eastern Student Association, Multiethnic Inclusion and(x) Diversity, South Asian Student Alliance, and Women of Color. We also want to recognize experience-based affinity groups and mental health groups such as Plus One (for students experiencing grief/loss/trauma) and the new First Generation and Immigrant Allies group.

Visiting Artist Exhibition in Feldman-Horn Gallery: Slanguage Studio Artists

September 16, 2022

The Upper School Visual Arts Department opened their first exhibition of the school year with an incredible quartet of professional Visiting Artists. The exhibition entitled “Use What You Have…Do Your Best…” is up in Feldman-Horn Gallery from September 16, 2022 - November 4, 2022. Using photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation, four different artists explore Mexican-American identity, investigate personal struggles with addiction and health trauma, and playfully critique unsettling aspects of the art world. Featured Slanguage Studio Artists include Mario Ybarra Jr., Karla Diaz, Aydinaneth Ortiz, and Juan Manuel Valenzuela. Slanguage is an Artist Run Space and Defacto Art School in Wilmington, CA. During the Opening Reception on Friday September 16, 2022 after school, community members came to experience the art and eat tacos from Homestate. LAHSO members attended a special gallery tour where each of the artists told stories and answered questions about their artwork. A few weeks later Mario Ybarra Jr. returned to offer a conceptual art workshop to visual arts students.

Affinity Group Leader and Advisor Training with Dr. Liza Talusan

September 10, 2022

On a Saturday from 9am-2pm MS & US student affinity group leaders and their adult advisors gathered at the Middle School for an extensive interactive training session with Dr. Liza Talusan. The training focused on forming habits for identity-conscious facilitation and building skills and tools for more inclusive and courageous conversations.

Spanish V´s field trip to La Plaza Cocina at Olvera Street

September 1, 2022

Señora Riemer’s Spanish V took a field trip to La Plaza Cocina at Olvera Street. Students watched a documentary featuring 10 abuelas (some Mexican-American, some mestizas, some Afromexicanas, some indígenas). In the documentary, the women spoke about their lives in the US and how they stay connected to their home culture through culinary traditions.

HW River Park partners with Angel City Sports

July 7, 2022

Harvard-Westlake’s River Park project announced a partnership with Angel City Sports, which provides free adaptive sports opportunities to children, adults, and veterans with physical disabilities and visual impairments. The forthcoming River Park campus will be the “Valley Home of Angel City Sports” and will host numerous adaptive sports programs including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, track and field, sitting volleyball, table tennis, swimming, goalball, blind soccer, judo, wheelchair fencing, and amputee soccer. Angel City Sports will also provide hands-on educational experiences for Harvard-Westlake students, faculty, and staff to learn about and experience Paralympic sports, and to volunteer with the organization.

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn: Students of Color; Beyond Our Race Identifier

May 25, 2022

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Cionnie Pineda '22 presented "Students of Color; Beyond Our Race Identifier" in collaboration with US Counselor Matthew Bell and MS Learning Specialist & KITS Teacher Jennifer Gabrail. This Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Conversation on Intersectionality and Mental Health took place in-person on both campuses. This event took the form of an honest group conversation and listening session, led by one of our most passionate student leaders for inclusion, diversity, and equity. Faculty and staff were inspired by Cionnie’s bravery and vulnerability to tell her story and advocate for possible solutions to further support the mental health of students with multiple identifiers at HW.

Cinema Sundays presents…Barry Jenkins’ "The Underground Railroad"

May 22, 2022

Longtime Cinema Studies teacher Ted Walch invited Alex O’Flinn and Joi McMillon, editors of Barry Jenkins’ episodic “The Underground Railroad,” based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. They joined Walch for a deep in-person discussion, following a screening of the first two episodes. You view the show yourself via Amazon Prime.

Upper School Community Time Speaker: Ming Na-Wen (温明娜)

May 13, 2022

Asian Pacific American Heritage (APAH) Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the vast and diverse group of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the US, whose contributions are integral to the history of America. We recognize and applaud our collective strength, perseverance, and artistry.

To celebrate, Upper School Asian Students in Action (ASiA) invited actress Ming Na-Wen (温明娜) to speak via Zoom during Community Time. Ms. Wen is most known for her role as June Woo in The Joy Luck Club (1993) and as the original voice of Mulan in Disney’s animated film Mulan (1998). She has also starred in Agents of Shield and the Stars Wars franchise (The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch, and The Book of Boba Fett). For her work with Disney, she was honored as a Disney Legend in 2019 and is set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year. Ms. Wen is an icon of Asian representation in the film and television industry, and her advocacy for greater awareness of the Asian-American community has contributed to increased representation in media.  

ASiA hosted a follow-up discussion to analyze, challenge, and continue the conversation about representation, fetishization, and the Model Minority Myth.

Babel x SLIDE release a Community Cookbook Around Our World

May 5, 2022

“Food is often one of the best ways to raise multicultural awareness and appreciation, and in September 2021, I sought to implement this principle into our plans for Babel Magazine this year. While in conversation with Mx. Limerick to coordinate a Babel-SLIDE collaboration, we conjured the idea to create a multicultural cookbook dedicated to exemplifying the diverse culinary traditions from the Harvard-Westlake community. From there, I’m so grateful for the team that has come together to forge our vision into a reality. [Please see Letter from the Editor in the Multicultural Cookbook PDF for full list of staff and thank yous.] This publication features 25 recipes submitted by Harvard-Westlake students, parents, faculty and staff. A big thank-you to everyone who submitted. We’re so excited for you all to share in the joy that we had while assembling this collection.

- Joie Zhang ’22, Editor-In-Chief of Babel & Head Editor of the Babel-SLIDE Multicultural Cookbook

US SLIDE Multicultural Fair and US LASHO Cinco De Mayo Celebration

May 5, 2022

The entire Upper School was invited to attend the SLIDE Multicultural Fair/LAHSO Cinco de Mayo celebration during May 5th’s Community Time!! The student affinity group leaders (with the help of parent affinity groups and the DEI office) organized an incredible event with delicious foods from around the world, awesome cultural music, and lots of fun activities such as a piñata contest, a photobooth, and a scavenger hunt raffle on the Quad celebrating some of the many different cultures of the world represented at HW. Concurrently, Ms. Queala’s dance students performed a site-responsive movement piece outside Mudd Library.

Introducing new US Affinity Group: DO-IT! (Diversability: Overcoming Inequity Together)

May 1, 2022

DO-IT! (Diversability: Overcoming Inequity Together) is a new space on campus where students unite to advocate equity and visibility for the diversely-abled community. Through dialogue and education, they plan to address the stigma attached to disabilities and tackle issues of varying severity that students of all ability levels face daily. Although this year’s leaders were all graduating seniors, DO-IT! hopes to continue to grow next school year under new leadership.

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn: “American Boy” Screening and Panel Discussion

April 27, 2022

This January, Video Art student Fallon Dern '23 collaborated with and interviewed an ethnically diverse group of 18 boys at HW Upper School to create a thought-provoking and visually stunning documentary about race, masculinity, romance, and conceptions of self as shaped by Western media. This emotionally impactful, intricately crafted cultural video collage was completed in just one month's time and sparks more questions than it answers. 

Watch “American Boy” Here

While eating a delicious complimentary lunch, Faculty and Staff members watched Fallon’s 10 minute film and then listened to a panel discussion, moderated by Mx. Limerick, with the student filmmaker, Fallon Dern ‘23, and American boys Milo Kiddugavu ‘22, Danny Johnson ‘23, Charlie Seymour ‘23, who were featured in the video piece. The event concluded with an open discussion and Q&A session with the audience, both virtual and in person.

Upper School Community Time Speaker: Yona Nadelman

April 26, 2022

The day before Yom Ha'Shoah, Upper School Jewish Club hosted a mandatory all school assembly in Taper Gym, where we had the privilege to listen to a Holocaust survivor speak about her experiences. Yom Ha'Shoah commemorates the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the heroism of survivors. Students introduced Jordanna Gessler, Vice President of Education and Exhibits at Holocaust Museum LA, who interviewed Yona Nadelman and allowed her space to share her painful story and enduring words of wisdom. Yona Nadelman was five years old when Nazi Germany invaded her hometown of Krakow, Poland.

GLSEN Day of Silence

April 22, 2022

The Upper School Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club (GSA) Leadership Team invited all members of the school to participate in the GLSEN Day of Silence.GLSEN is a leading education organization working to create safe and LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 schools. Students were invited to take a vow of silence for the day and join a national youth movement highlighting the silencing and erasure of LGBTQIA+ people in schools. Faculty were encouraged to read a prepared statement and then hold a moment of silence at the beginning of class to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ people nationwide who experience harassment and discrimination in their schools. GSA provided the school community with resources from the GLSEN website.

Kimberly West-Faulcon joins Kutler Center as Scholar in Residence

March 21, 2022

Kimberly West-Faulcon joined the Kutler Center as the new Scholar in Residence for the 2021-2022 school year. West-Faulcon researches, writes and teaches about the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court on a range of topics that include Equal Protection issues such as race, sex and gender identity discrimination, liberties protected by the Due Process Clause such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and the Second Amendment.

“I am particularly interested in the doctrinal implications of a majority of the current Supreme Court justices ascribing to original meaning originalism as a theory of constitutional interpretation,” West-Faulcon said. “I have been studying and teaching about the origins of originalism for many years now based on my expectation that this theory would someday become a majority view on the Supreme Court.”

Read the full article written by Chloe Park and published in The Chronicle on January 24, 2022 in anticipation of West-Faulcon’s arrival.

Community Council Presents…Special Olympics at HW

April 19, 2022

As part of Community Service Week, Community Council hosted a two hour midday Special Olympics event on the track. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, HW students had the opportunity to rekindle a 7-year tradition and take the field with their friends of all abilities for the Special Olympics! Students partnered with The Help Group to find a purpose beyond themselves, and amid the smiles, cheers, and skills of the day, everyone felt the inclusion, collaboration, encouragement, and the sense of unity.

US SLIDE Town Halls

February 28 and March 4, 2022

SLIDE (Student Leaders for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) hosted a series of town halls for students to discuss their Harvard-Westlake experiences as students with marginalized identities. Although each town hall was hosted by one or two affinity groups, all were welcome to attend any meeting (even if they weren’t a member of that affinity group!) They occurred over the course of a week and were entirely student-led in an effort to provide accessible, safe, confidential, spaces for students to discuss their experiences and what they wish to improve at HW as it pertains to diversity, equity, inclusion, curriculum, mental health, belonging, and more.

Blacc Out Dance

February 26, 2022

During the 2nd Annual BLACC OUT Dance in Hamilton Gym, students in grades 9-12 from schools all around Los Angeles gathered together to dance, have fun, connect, and celebrate Black joy!

Upper School Community Time Speaker: Noa Tishby

February 25, 2022

The whole Upper School gathered in the gym to welcome Noa Tishby, an Israeli actress, producer and activist who recently published her first book: Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, which examines the history of Israel and Palestine. Tisby and Middle East Studies teacher Mr. Yaron engaged in a conversation about Israel from historical and contemporary perspectives and opened up to the audience for questions at the end.

Mr. Makhluf’s Periodic Table of Black History

February 21, 2022

In honor of Black History Month, Middle School History Teacher Mr. Makhluf created a living gallery of Black Artists, Scientists, Authors, Actors, Activists, Athletes, Musicians, Politicians, Famous Firsts, and Entrepreneurs. Makhluf wanted to create an interactive experience for his students that wasn’t as passive as simply showing someone on a PowerPoint and talking to students about them. He wanted students to make a more personal connection with Black History, “if they were interested in finding out more about someone they could do their own research using the QR codes.” This interactive installation will stay up year round.

LGBTQIA+ Valentines Love Lunch

February 16, 2022

Our burgeoning LGBTQIA+ Faculty and Staff Caucus hosted an intergenerational Valentine's brunch to celebrate the expansive love of the LGBTQIA+ community. 12 adult co-hosts sent out a virtual card to students who are queer, questioning, or allies, asking “will you be our Valentines?” and 40 kids came up to the Feldman-Horn Plaza to eat, craft, and socialize. Queer love (platonic, pan, aromantic, romantic, gay, ace, ALL OF IT) was embraced during this sweet lunchtime gathering that existed in a special place beyond the normative confines of V-Day. Attendees organized themselves by zodiac signs and discussed their relationships to the stars, created valentine cards, listened to music, and connected all while eating a delicious vegetarian brunch handcrafted by a local poc lgbtqia+ Chef!

Upper School Community Time Speaker: Dr. Emmett G. Price III '92

February 7, 2022

Celebrated throughout February each year, Black History Month celebrates achievements — both past and present — of Black Americans and their central role throughout American history.  For the first Community Time of the month, BLACC hosted HW Alum, Dr. Emmett G. Price III '92. Dr. Price is a world-renowned scholar, educator, writer, speaker, and media personality on Black music and culture. He currently serves as the inaugural Dean of Africana Studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Beyond his educational and scholarly roles, Price is also a trained composer and arranger who has performed throughout the U.S. Dr. Price gave an inspirational speech to students and engaged with their questions about Black musicians and authors and the origins of the Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club back when he was an HW student.

US ASiA’s Lunar New Year Festival

February 1, 2022

Upper School Asian Students in Action (ASiA) transformed the quad into a beautiful, immersive, and diverse Lunar New Year celebration. Hundreds of students and a handful of Faculty and Staff stayed after school to eat delicious Asian foods, take photos, sing karaoke, play games, exchange gifts, and light lanterns in the dark to usher in the Year of the Tiger!

SDLC Presentation at Fac/Staff Meeting

January 25, 2022

After attending the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, five student leaders bravely and eloquently shared what they learned and experienced with Faculty and Staff. Students led adults through a reflective “identity molecule” exercise in break out rooms, told impactful stories from the conference about their enlightening experiences in affinity group spaces, and offered suggestions for how faculty and staff could offer further support for students of marginalized identities to feel a true sense of belonging and equity at HW.

ASiA x BLACC Joint Conversation on Cultural Appropriation

January 24, 2022

Upper School affinity groups Asian Students in Action (ASiA) and Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club (BLACC) joined forces to host a cross-cultural conversation about cultural appropriation. Students gathered for an hour after school to participate in an open discussion about the ways in which culturally specific hairstyles, language, clothing, art, and other elements have been misappropriated by celebrities, companies, and acquaintances. Another focus of the discussion was the fine line between appropriation and appreciation. By sharing illuminating and painful stories about how special traditions within their unique cultures had been flippantly stolen or watered down for profit or clout, the importance of research and respect were emphasized.

Socially Engaged Video Art Exhibition in Feldman-Horn Gallery

January 18, 2022

The DUALITY of REALITY showcased socially engaged audiovisual art installations created by the 9 students in Mx. Limerick's highest level Video Art class: Ridley Berger Sacks, Kaelyn Choi, Alanah Dakar, Shanti Hinkin, Santiago Kelly, Alejandro Lombard, Lolo Milburn, Sam Pokress, and Oliver Wyman. These immersive multimedia experiences beautifully and bravely grappled with themes of gender, race, physical and mental health, police violence, sexual assault, past and present, war and peace, love, family, domesticity, companionship, stereotypes, the cultural impacts of media, and perceptions and explorations of self. The content of the work was heavy, personal, and important and the forms were varied, unique, and innovative. Importantly, audiences spent time engaging with the work in the gallery and allowed themselves to be emotionally impacted by it.


December 13, 2021

Members of BLACC took a field trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to experience the newest exhibition Black American Portraits, featuring 200 years of Black American subjects, spaces, families, and communities as seen through the eyes of Black American artists. The students and faculty mentors were able to view The Obama Portraits as painted by Kehinde Wiley’s portrait and Amy Sherald.

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn with US Jewish Club

December 9, 2021

Faculty and Staff were invited to attend a Brown Bag Lunch and Learn with our Upper School Jewish Club where lunch from Kings Deli was provided. The hybrid event took place in person in Ahmanson as well as via Zoom. HW Sophomore and Senior students shared about how their Jewish identities impact their lives at school as well as on social media and how adults on campus can become more informed allies. Jewish Club members explored personal perspectives on the unique nature of Israel and Palestine, the link between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and aspects of diversity within Judaism. Ample time was reserved for Q&A from the audience and a productive discussion took place. The students followed up with a handout Educate Yourself on Anti-semitism and Anti-zionism: Resource Sheet.

Upper School Community Time with DEAFinitely Dope

December 7, 2021

Our community was uplifted and enlightened about Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities with a musical ASL presentation in Taper Gym. DHoH activists and educators Matt Maxey and Martise Colston of DEAFinitely Dope Zoomed into tell their stories, answer student questions, and visually interpret popular songs. During this dynamic hybrid presentation, students from the HW Middle School Sign Language club were able to virtually connect with our guests about music, deaf culture, accessibility, and inclusion.

Attica Locke visits English IV: Criminal Minds Class

December 7, 2021

Mystery novelist and television writer/producer Attica Locke visited the English IV: Criminal Minds class to inspire students. In addition to crime, her mystery novels explore southern culture, blues music, race, class, and history. The students in Criminal Minds were able to deeply engage with Locke after reading her novel Heaven, My Home. Locke, winner of the Edgar Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, discussed her inspiration for the novel and the profound questions that it raises about forgiveness and racial justice in America. She also spoke about her writing process, answered student questions, and signed books. It was an informative, stimulating visit!

HW Pride presents… Understanding Gender Diversity

December 6, 2021

One of our newest parent affinity groups, HW Pride, co-hosted the event Understanding Gender Diversity featuring Joel Baum from Gender Spectrum. HW LGBTQIA+ parents, parents of LGBTQIA+ kids, and anyone interested in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community at HW was invited to engage in the evolving conversation about gender diversity. This virtual nighttime educational event presented by Harvard-Westlake School, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, and Viewpoint School aimed to help attendees become better allies to trans and nonbinary students.

Environmental Club presents...Dennis Mabasa

November 29, 2021

The Upper School student-run Environmental Club invited Dennis Mabasa (they/them) to speak during Community Time. Students gathered in Ahmanson to learn from Dennis Mabasa, the current Director of Education at Friends of the Los Angeles River, about environmental careers and specifically how environmental science can intersect with environmental justice. Masaba passionately and relatably spoke about their professional experiences from the perspective of a person from the Philippines and member of the LGBTQ+ community, and how their identity has impacted their work and values.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20. 2021

Members of our confidential student affinity group for transgender, genderqueer, and gender questioning students invited the community to honor the memory of murdered transgender people. The QR codes links to a video the students chose created by The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) explaining the origin of Transgender Day of Remembrance. It has been observed annually since 1999, initiated as a vigil to commemorate and honor Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman killed in Allston in 1998. Unfortunately, there have been many more lives lost to transphobic violence since Rita Hester.

ASiA Karaoke Night

November 19, 2021

Upper School student-run affinity group Asian Students in Action (ASiA) strives to connect Asian students to each other and their own identities, and, for their first social event of the year, members did just that. Kids introduced non-Asian and Asian friends to their favorite karaoke songs, made friends in the line for Korean barbecue, watched Asian American media inside, posed in the photo booth and played basketball with kids they'd never met before. ASiA leaders couldn't have been prouder and happier with how it went.

Community Service with HWJFA

November 14, 2021

During the first-ever HW Jewish Family Alliance Community Service event at Our Big Kitchen LA, parents and students prepared and packaged 239 meals for those in need in our community. Students earned 2 hours of Harvard-Westlake community service credit for this activity and families were able to connect in person for a good cause.

Courageous Conversations with Ourselves - Family Visiting Day Session with Ms. Essex and Mx. Limerick

November 13, 2021

Participants of 7th Grade Virtual Family Visiting Day had the option to immerse themselves in DEI at HW by engaging in Courageous Conversations with ourselves. Two coordinators of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion led their small group on a a poetic journey of self-discovery and identity composed of inspirational videos and a thought-provoking free-writing activity. Visitors of all ages were encouraged to be fierce and ask themselves courageous questions!

HWCCC Roundtable

November 4, 2021

Harvard-Westlake Chinese Cultural Club hosted a virtual roundtable where panelists shared wisdom with parents at the beginning of their journey at HW. It was well attended and well produced; the parents who planned the event and handled tech support exhibited an exceptional level of volunteerism, professionalism, and comradery.

MS SASA Diwali Festival

November 4, 2021

“The Diwali celebration at the middle school was a ton of fun. We decorated diyas (oil lamps), ate samosas, and designed rangoli to celebrate. We had a big turnout and many people came with open minds, wanting to learn more. It was a great experience and I am looking forward to next year!” - Nikhil Sarvaiya ‘26

US SASA’s Diwali Festival

November 4, 2021

The Upper School South Asian Student Alliance invited the community to celebrate Diwali (Indian New Year) after school on the Seaver patio. There were numerous activities such as henna dye and Diya candle decoration plus samosas, music, and a presentation.

Empower presents…Soraya M. Deen

November 3, 2021

Harvard-Westlake's women's empowerment and gender equality club hosted a dynamic speaker during Upper School Conference Time. Soraya Deen is a Lawyer, Author, award winning International Activist, Community Organizer, gender justice advocate & Interfaith Consultant. She is the founder of the Muslim Women Speakers & Co - founder of the Interfaith Solidarity Network, one of the largest interfaith organizations in Los Angeles. She authored the books SERVE: A call to Muslims and PEACE MATTERS: Raising peace conscious children. She believes that religion based oppression, dominance and violence against women of faith must be addressed with urgency. She urges women & girls to show up, speak up & move up; because the bottom is overcrowded. 

Paula Yoo visits the Middle School

November 1, 2021

The author of this year's DEI Summer Read selection, Paula Yoo, joined us on campus to discuss her book "From A Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement”. Moving between laughter and lamentation, Yoo engaged a Middle School audience as she spoke on compassion in relation to justice, the imperativeness of racial representation, and solidarity across social movements.

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon

October 29, 2021

The Faculty and Staff on both MS and US campuses enjoyed a bountiful and Boo-tiful Halloween themed delicious Chinese luncheon, co-sponsored by HWCCC and HWP.  Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who helped in the event!

HW ALL IN: HW Athletes Leading + Learning to Create Inclusive Norms

October 28, 2021

Photo from combined trainings with Boys’ Basketball and Girls’ Soccer

“The DEI training series was a good installment to the athletics program. I feel it should be required for all teams. Especially in the day and age we are in, understanding amongst people of different races and cultures is important.” - Dahnte Russell ‘22 (Boys’ Basketball)

Lyla June at Pollyanna Conference

October 23, 2021

Harvard-Westlake School hosted its fifth annual Pollyanna Conference with pods from 17 neighboring schools in attendance. The theme of this year’s conference is “Reimagining Resiliency with Resolve.” Our Keynote speaker was the powerful and present Lyla June, an Indigenous public speaker, artist, scholar and community organizer. Her songs, poems, and stories had many of us in tears; her calls for truth, faith, and compassion for Indigenous lands, languages, and peoples were urgent. Lyla June is of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages from Taos, New Mexico.

KAPA Dodgers Game Outing

October 17, 2021

Founded in 1990, Korean American Parents' Association welcomes all Harvard-Westlake families who share an interest in getting to know other parents and learning more about Korean culture. Members of KAPA (Korean American Parents' Association) recently gathered to bond during a baseball game.

Upper School Community Time: Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

October 11, 2021

In celebration of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage month, LAHSO gave out Cuban pastries and Mexican candy out on the quad and then played many rounds of Lotería. Lots of students stopped by, so many of whom were not members of LAHSO but still showed their support (and their love of great food)!!

Faculty/Staff Affinity Group Brainstorm

October 6 and 8, 2021

The DEI Office hosted a lunchtime discussion on the purpose, structure, and benefits of having Faculty/Staff Affinity Groups as a part of the Harvard-Westlake community. Faculty/Staff Affinity Groups (also known as Employee Resource Groups or ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups made up of individuals who join together based on common interests, backgrounds, or demographic factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, neurodiversity, religion and many more. These discussions were an important step in the hopeful creation of more inclusive and robust Faculty/Staff Affinity Groups.

LGBTQIA+ Safe Space Training for Faculty/Staff

October 6, 2021

Harvard-Westlake's Annual LGBTQIA+ Safe Space Training for Faculty/Staff led by Dr. Nate Cardin via Zoom. The presentation is updated and refined every year with input from community members and students in GSA. This year, Dr. Cardin focused on pronouns and language and offered attendees opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussion. Faculty and Staff members left with a deeper understanding and concrete tools for how to support their students, colleagues, and friends of LGBTQIA+ identities.

Diversity Council Meeting

September 30, 2021

Our Diversity Council consists of faculty and staff from all departments and divisions across both campuses. This year the council members resolved to facilitate the creation and implementation of DEI Action Plans tailored to each department or team through a series of internal conversations, surveys, and working sessions. 

Grading for Equity 21-22 Cohort Kick-off Meeting

September 29, 2021

Over a two year period, cohorts of faculty from both campuses meet throughout the year for a series of workshops, coaching, and reflective check-ins that promote equitable grading and assessment practices. At this year’s inaugural meeting, Dr. Shantha Smith from Crescendo Education Group presented via Zoom.

150 Years in the Making: Jews of L.A. with HWJFA

September 29, 2021

Community members were invited to join Dr. Caroline Luce, Chief Digital Curator of Mapping Jewish L.A., for a discussion of the intersecting Jewish migratory, cultural, and urban histories that converged in Los Angeles. Attendees learned how Jews have negotiated and navigated their communal relations and identities within a complex and ever-changing ethno-racial geography of the American West and also discussed their own “L.A. Stories” at this interactive and virtual event.   

Sukkot Dinners Under The Stars with HWJFA

September 22-25, 2021

Our Jewish Family Association hosted their first family event of the year — small group Sukkot dinners under the stars at Harvard-Westlake families’ homes! During these intimate outdoor dinners, groups were able to reflect upon the meaning of home, shelter, and the seasons over a meal with fellow HWJFA families.

Art © Flora Rosefky. Learn more about this piece, entitled, Sukkot.

Upper School Activities Fair during Community Flex Time

September 22, 2021

On a very hot day, 106 tables were set up around the track, each one advertising a different student-run club. All students spent the whole Community Flex Time block promoting their existing organizations and/or signing up for new groups. Prefect council organized the tables into the following categories: Social Studies/Activism. Sports, Hobbies, Art/Film, Science, Tech/Gaming, Writing/Language, Outreach, Music, Academic Competition, Miscellaneous, and SLIDE, which comprises our 15 Affinity Groups.

Construction of a Sukkah for Sukkot on both campuses

September 20, 2021

Sukkot is a Jewish holiday marking both the close of the harvest and commemorating the wandering of the Israelites in the desert. This observance historically involves the building of a sukkah, a temporary shelter used for gatherings, meals, and on occasion, for lodging. Many thanks to both Dave Mintz, Richard Bogan, and their maintenance/facility crews for their assistance in constructing our new multi-purpose sukkah!

JAG visit to the Japanese American National Museum with Kurt Kanazawa ‘07

September 19, 2021

JAG organized a visit to the Japanese American National Museum with HW alum, Kurt Kanazawa ‘07. Kurt narrated the voice of Stanley Hayami for a virtual reality video project and exhibit at the museum. Middle school AACC and JLCC members got to meet Kurt and hear about his experience working on the project documenting Stanley Hayami’s journey from Mark Keppel High School to Japanese American concentration camp to enlisting in the US army.

HWP Mindfulness Club Kick-off Event

September 17, 2021

HW Parent ‘24 ’26, Kalika Yap, has created a new parent group for those interested in mindfulness. HW employees are also welcome to participate in events centering mindfulness and healing such as meditation and yoga sessions, neuroscience seminars, and more.  Visit for information and resources on how to introduce mindfulness practices into your everyday life.

Chicken Matzoh Ball Soup Cooking Class with HWJFA

September 9, 2021

Community members were invited to kick off the school year (and Jewish New Year 5781!) by learning to make the cure for whatever ails you: chicken matzoh ball soup! Sharon Steiglitz (P'22, P'26) led this virtual cooking class just in time to get folks ready to whip up this Jewish classic at the following week’s Yom Kippur break-the-fast meal. Yum!

Brown Bag Beginning of Year Check In: "How Much Me Can I Be?”

September 2, 2021

Each year we meet a new wave of students, parents, and colleagues...and experience once again the challenges that can come along with making a first impression. "How much of my authentic self can I share up front?" “How _____ can I be when I first meet my students/families?” "How Much Me Can I Be?” The DEI Team invited Faculty and Staff to join together on Zoom to process the anxieties and fears we may share about being ourselves at the start of a new school year through vulnerable conversations and journaling.

HW Black Caucus backyard gathering before the HW Football Game

August 27, 2021

“I feel that it is a full-circle moment that as a student at HW I was a part of BLACC and now as an employee, I am a part of the Black Caucus. A few Fridays ago we were all invited to meet up before the Football game for food and conversation. Last Friday we had a Zoom meeting where we gave updates on our first few weeks back on campus. It’s been great to share my own experiences and hear from my fellow Black colleagues. These Friday meetings mean a lot to me because I end the week reminded that I have a support group on campus.”

-Haley Hicks ‘17


August 22, 2021

PAAHWS (Parents of African American Harvard-Westlake Students) hosted panelists, including Akeem Ayeni, Anthony Sparks, Dionne McClain, Stacy Messaye, who provided sage advice to the new families. Over 50 families were in attendance via Zoom. The PAAHWS Co-Chairs are Kirsten Albrecht Evans and Dr. Cynthia Mathias-Herring and they are exceptional leaders.

Inaugural HW community LGBTQ+ Event

August 22, 2021

The HW Alumni Association along with HW Pride* (a new parent affinity group for LGBTQ+ and ally parents) hosted the first-ever HW community LGBTQ+ event. This outdoor social event, held at the home of HW parents, was attended by 60 people, alumni, parents, staff & faculty, and students, who identify in/with the LGBTQ+ community.

JAG Park Gathering

August 21, 2021

JAG, Japanese-American Affinity Group, is a parent affinity group that welcomes all Harvard-Westlake families who have an interest in Japanese and Japanese-American culture. After 18 long months apart, group members safely reunited in a Los Angeles park to share stories, smiles (masked ones but, trust us, they're there), and yummy treats!