By VICKI CHEN
Humans of New York (HONY), a website that “provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City,” has become increasingly popular; teens and adults alike follow HONY on social media, eagerly awaiting new post and pictures. The process is simple: the photographer interviews random strangers, and attaches their most memorable quote to their picture and posts it. While this may seem somewhat mundane, HONY has been acclaimed for its unique ability to bring out the colorful individuality of such a large city in exploring the city’s stories through each photo. HONY inspired the creation of our very own Humans of University High School (HOUHS), which features the unique stories of students at University High School (UHS).
Other schools, such as Northwood, have also started their own pages and joined the “Humans of” movement. Humans of New York has inspired many people through this movement. At first, the HOUHS opened as a page on Facebook, but quickly expanded to other social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram. As of this November, their Facebook page has already reached over 900 likes.
HONY opens the eyes of its followers to the incredible stories and battles of both seemingly ordinary people and people who stand out on the streets of New York City. Similarly, HOUHS strives to bring attention to the vast diversity and complexity of our student body, while revealing the uniting factors among us all. “Humans brings out a side of Uni that some of us would never know about,” said BJ Kim (Sr.). Co-founder Nika Zarazvand (Jr.) said that the biggest goal for Humans of UHS is “to make UHS tighter as a community by sharing stories and ideas.” She explains that by exposing these stories, “we become far more empathetic and understanding of each other’s’ obstacles.”
In the founders of HOUHS’s eyes – and perhaps many others – UHS is often viewed as an “academic battlefield” in which peers are competing solely for academic achievement and superiority. However, HOUHS hopes to confirm that we, the students of UHS, are all “human beings trying to form connections that will teach us something about ourselves.” HOUHS serves as a platform through which people open up and share stories that make them who they are.
What draws many people to the Humans of… pages are the pictures of people with deep-delving captions that explore the person in question’s picture. Always paired with an intriguing caption that tells the person’s story, the picture can either emphasize the depth of a seemingly “ordinary” person or explain the ordinary struggles of someone outstandingly unique. Followers often find the stories of people surprisingly relatable, and the pictures in effect “highlight how people can connect on a very human, emotional level, despite their differences,” according to HOUHS. The content of the pictures and their corresponding captions connect people while highlighting the diversity among them. The captions can be humorous, compassionate, tear-jerkers, or anything in between, but are always something different. Nayana Bhatnagar (Jr.) said, “Humans of UHS is quite fantastic. It shows how diverse Uni is with different styles and characteristics that showcase how everyone in this school is unique.”
Human connection and relation are often overlooked in the competitive atmosphere of UHS, and as another one of the members of HOUHS staff said, “There is so much hidden happiness and pain and humor to be shared with a community and that’s what really drives the ‘Humans of…’ movement.” A student’s individuality is easily lost among the demands of high school, but everyone still has his or her personal story of successes and failures, ups and downs. It’s the hidden nature of those stories that inspired the founders of Humans of UHS to venture out and capture the most human elements of each student. As Zarazvand and the founders of Humans of UHS said, “Everyone has a story. Sometimes people just need an outlet to tell that story. That’s what HOUHS is for.”
To visit the HOUHS page, go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Humans-of-University-High-School/330513493787616?sk=timeline