Outreach commissioner works to restart HOSH

September 16, 2019 — by Christine Zhang

This year, senior outreach commissioner and equity coordinator Surbhi Bhat is working to restart the Humans of Saratoga High (HOSH) Facebook page and Instagram account after its previous administrators graduated and posts became irregular.

Assistant principal Kerry Mohnike, a member of the equity committee, encouraged Bhat to put together a team to reopen the page. The equity committee works alongside the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) team to plan school-wide activities. Last year, they coordinated the weeklong Breaking Down the Walls event in the fall. When Mohnike and Bhat were discussing issues for the equity committee, Mohnike asked Bhat if she knew of anyone who was still connected to HOSH. 

HOSH is modeled after the Humans of New York photoblog page, which features posts with a short account of an individual’s story and photographs of the individual. 

Bhat said that the HOSH team will include a writer and a photographer, who will interview people around campus for each post. She has found a photographer but is still looking for a writer; the writer will be a member of either the newspaper or yearbook staff. Both the writer and photographer are to remain anonymous. 

Bhat said that the goal of HOSH is to foster a more connected community. 

“It’s just to get to know other people’s stories because we don’t really talk about ourselves in public, especially not in high school,” she said. “It’s an interesting way for people to get to know other students on campus.”

Mohnike had the same goal in mind when she encouraged Bhat to restart HOSH. She said it would provide a good opening for aspiring journalists while bringing the Saratoga community together. 

“I would hate to see HOSH go away,” Mohnike said. “It’s a great opportunity for photographers and people who like to read stories and journalists in general, and it’s a way to break down some stereotypes and myths about people.”

Bhat is unsure about how she plans to work with the writer and photographer to choose individuals to interview. Since she wants to feature a wide variety of people on the page, she hopes to interview students from different grades and communities. Bhat does not want to be subjective by picking only those whom she knows personally, as HOSH is designed so that anyone with a story to share can be featured. The team may consider volunteers after choosing a few individuals at first. 

Bhat’s current plan is to post once a week, but the schedule can be adjusted if weekly posts are “too much.” HOSH will have an Instagram page and possibly a Facebook one as well, but Bhat thinks that Instagram is a more popular platform than Facebook, meaning more people will view HOSH’s posts on Instagram. 

Bhat said the page will remain similar to what it was in the past. 

“HOSH was run differently by the person before us, so we’re seeing what we can do to make it our own but at the same time keep it the thing it’s supposed to be,” she said. 

HOSH is not directly involved with either the outreach commission or the equity committee. Mohnike said that HOSH has traditionally been run by students, and although she would be happy to help Bhat, she does not want that fact to change. 

The HOSH Facebook page, which has more than 2300 followers, was started in October 2013. Its posts for the past two years have been inconsistent, and its most recent one was in February. Mohnike messaged the page and received a reply from an alumnus, which led her to realize that the HOSH team needed to “turn the reins over to somebody else.” 

She said that restarting HOSH would help spread more personal stories around social media. 

“We can have real stories on the Internet, not just someone’s best profile picture or their grand vacation to the Cayman  Islands,” Mohnike said. “I think it serves us all to be more in touch with the people that we hang out with here at school.” 

 

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