Building community, one picture at a time


Corinne Mitchner

Nowadays, one cannot aimlessly scroll through their Facebook newsfeed without seeing a Humans of New York post on the screen. Whether it is an endearing photograph of an old couple in Central Park, an immigrant expressing the pressures of expectations, or a toddler sporting some trendy attire, the blog represents all aspects of people living in the Big Apple through a single picture and quote or two. And, as Design Club President Stella Ge asks, “Why not bring this to Mountain View?”

This very question led to the Humans of Mountain View facebook page that was created just a few months ago. With over 400 likes, the page has garnered support from MVHS students, but the Design Club wants even more readership. As Ge says, “we hope HOMV can get ordinary MVHS students to see each other in a different light.”

The man behind the widely successful Humans of New York blog, Brandon Stanton, has a routine method that includes interviewing random people walking the streets of New York City and displaying a section of their conversation alongside a photograph of them. Humans of Mountain View operates the same way, which involves approaching people either on campus or even in places like downtown. Design Club member Jolie Goolish says, “From there, we launch into any of a variety of questions that are thought-provoking, easy to understand, and are open to the imagination.”

“To be honest, at first going up to people and asking to take their picture was quite intimidating, and it still is, a little bit, but it’s allowed us to become more open and realize that most of the people in our community are incredibly friendly, nice people,” remarks Ge. She notes that while it may be difficult, the benefit of recognizing individuals to strengthen the community is worth it.

While it may not be instantly recognizable, Humans of New York and the Design Club fit together in many ways.  “We cover a wide range of design from painting, to sculptures, to photography. Inspired by Humans of New York, we decided to take this last element, photography, and bring it to the community,” says Goolish. Their efforts have been rewarded through the page’s rising number of posts and resulting popularity. Regarding all the people the Design Club has been able to reach with their newest project, Goolish says, “I’ve gotten notifications from students, friends, friends of friends- even past teachers from middle school! It’s nice knowing that it’s reaching a wider audience and we can share our stories with such a welcoming community.”

Overall, community is what this page is about. Through the simple act of acknowledging one person, we can begin to appreciate all the individuals around us that bring unique qualities to our school and town. “We pass by hundreds of other students in the hallways every single day without knowing their names, let alone their stories,” says Ge. Everyone walking the hallways of MVHS or even the streets of downtown has something to offer, and the Design Club sees Humans of Mountain View as exactly the forum we need to showcase that.

(Image credit to