Knights focused on sharing the stories of 'Humans of LSE'

Humans of LSE (Lincoln Southeast High School) models a popular storytelling method, allowing a peek behind the scenes. At Southeast, three students oversee the project, and they provided insight into how it started and what they have learned. Sophomore Maddie Elbracht is the school’s yearbook sports editor. Junior Julia Effle is the Print-Editor-in-Chief and Junior Fidan Ibrahimova is the Online-Editor-in-Chief for the Clarion, the school newspaper.

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Who is involved, and what grade are they in?

Julia: So it's both the newspaper staff and the yearbook staff – both have all grade levels.

How did this project initially get started?

Maddie: The Clarion staff initially started it. Our yearbook teacher, Ms. (Allyssa) Allaire, decided it would be good for our yearbook class to help them out, every other week.

Fidan: As a staff, we became inspired by Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York. We thought it would be a really cool idea to feature our own student body because it's hard to get everyone in one of our quarterly issues. Humans of LSE gives us an opportunity to share many untold stories around our school.

What have you learned about the process of creating Humans of LSE?

Julia: I've learned that truly everyone has something to say. Something to share, something to tell people, and everyone has a story. I've also learned not to judge a book by their cover, you're not always going to pick a human of LSE who's your best friend, so you really have to put past opinions behind you.

Maddie: Southeast has so many students, this is a good way to get to know more about students who have special stories. I have also learned how to pick out the best quotes from students and compile them into a story that captures who they are.

Fidan: The questions in the beginning are usually just "warm up" questions to make them comfortable. Then as the interview goes on, they start opening up and we get really great stories out of them. It's really fun and crazy to hear some of the stories because every person has an untold story.

What stands out to you about the stories you've published so far?

Julia: What stands out to me so far is how relatable the project is. A lot of our readers seem to relate to these people in some way and that's really cool to find out.

Fidan: Every story published so far is unique. No matter who the person is, what they're involved in, or where they come from, their stories are beautiful and it makes you realize how much we all have going on. We all go to school to learn but we never learn about our peers. These stories range from funny moments in life to super hard moments. It's a combination.     

Maddie: The biggest thing that stands out to me is that these people are completely normal on the outside, but they share a compelling story from the inside. These high school students are doing amazing things with their teenage years!

What do you hope happens with this project in the next six months and in the next year or two?

Maddie: I hope it becomes more popular! I think it should be something that Southeast students should look forward to when we post every Friday, and tell their friends about it.

Fidan: I hope this project inspires our classmates to explore more into each other, other than just our physical presence. I hope this project alleviates bullying because it gives us a chance to talk about things in our life that people don't know about, so people will realize how much we actually go through. I really hope this project brings unity to Southeast. We have Knight Pride, but hearing our peers’ stories is more important. I think this project will be so beneficial for our school, and I am excited to come back to LSE and see all the improvements around our school and how this project has helped the process.

Julia: In the next six months I just really hope students get more excited about this! In the next year or two, I hope we continue to do Humans of Southeast because it's important that people tell their stories because you never know what they have to tell you! And it'll almost be impossible to run out of people!

Published: February 13, 2017, Updated: February 13, 2017