Humans of Central project takes a deeper look into what makes our students unique

Giselle Pineda, Staff Writer

On September 4, 2010, Brandon Stanton launched his now famous project Humans of New York (HONY) depicting thousands of people’s stories in photographs. Ms. Holtzer’s Research 2 class is following in his footsteps, bringing inspiration from his project to the school. The project, “Humans Of Central,” will take a deeper look into what makes Palm Beach Central’s students so special. On completion, it will be turned into an exhibit portraying multiple photos of students and excerpts of their stories.

The idea for “Humans Of Central” came from Ms. Holtzer’s discovery of photographer Brandon Stanton’s book, “Humans of New York.” The book, which originally started in New York and expanded across the world, is a collage of thousands of photos and writings of people’s stories over the span of a decade.

For the Research 2 class, the objective is to depict students’ stories, showing both the differences and similarities of each student’s situations, experiences, background, accomplishments, and events that helped make them who they are as a student of Palm Beach Central.

“Our goal is to develop greater empathy and to reach a better understanding of each other, to create and appreciate the diversity of our community,” said Holtzer.

Currently, the project is run by three seniors: Jordan Fox, Taryn Giel, and Giselle Pineda. These students hope that their peers will understand that they are not the only ones going through hardships. They hope to encourage diversity, compassion, and inclusivity on campus by promoting the idea that everyone is unique in their own way.

“The purpose of this project is to encourage students to share their own stories with the world because everyone’s stories matter,” said Giel.

As of now, the Research 2 class plans on making a video of themselves explaining the project and creating prompts for students in their English and Language classes to answer. They are planning to ask teachers to assign the prompt to students where they will write one to two paragraphs. So far, they have collected around 80 stories.

The purpose of the project is to get to know the students that make up the fabric of Central and to learn about our diverse experiences and backgrounds,” added Holtzer. “Everyone has a story and every story is important and should be told. When we understand the lives, joys, pains, and experiences of others we grow to understand that we are not all that different, that we are all human.” 

So far, the project has generated a lot of interest many students are excited about the project. 

“I do feel that the school would need to know about the other students’ stories and who makes up the school,” expressed junior Tori Jones. “You never really know who’s going through something.”

Other students, such as junior Adriana Castro, commented that they believe this would enhance the diversity and understanding of each person’s background within the school. 

Last year, Holtzer’s Research 1 class — which studies events from abuse to genocide — completed another exhibit about the Holocaust. The theme of the project was “More Than Just a Number,” which included a variety of illustrations and poetry to match. Unfortunately, due to COVID, the exhibit was never put up. 

This year, however, Holtzer hopes to incorporate some of the poems made by her students in last year’s class exhibit into this year’s project. The goal is to help enhance the point her Research 2 class students are hoping to get across.

When finished, the stories and photos collected from the students will be used to create a displayable exhibit in the Media Center. At the moment, the project is a work in progress. While there is no set date on which the project is to be completed, the class hopes to release it by October. 

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