Humans of JHS
Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York,” Humans of JHS serves as a look into students’ lives. Students are chosen at random to prevent any bias in reporting.
"One time I was on a Boy Scout trip, and we got out a bunch of snacks and stuff because we weren't going to have supper that night. There was a one pound block of cheese, a box of crackers, and some other cheeses and stuff. So I take the one pound block of cheese and I go sit on a picnic table with it. I open it up and I'm about to cut off a slice when I see a hoard of young teenagers and tweenagers...
"I got my third tattoo because I know a lot of people who have been depressed and suicidal a couple of kids who actually committed suicide, so I got the stereotypical semicolon thing, but I added an arrow to it because it's a traditional symbol of protection from harm. Then I added the colors red and black to it because red stands for courage and strength and black stands for loneliness, and you usually...
"I was at a pond trying to catch tadpoles. They're really hard to catch though because they're so fast. I was bending over to try and grab one, but I lost my footing and slipped. I fell into the pond and had to walk home covered in the nasty water."
"My parents are from Liberia and I was actually born there. My mom and I came to the United States when I was a baby, but we got separated from my dad because of the war that was going on there at the time. I'd really like to go back and try to meet my dad and the rest of my family at some point."
"I'm one of the candidates that is in the running for Student Council president for next year. I actually ran for Student Council secretary last year and my slogan was 'Make Johnston Great Again'. So I decided to stick with that again this time around"
"I draw, usually Shawn Mendes. I took art classes every year, and I didn't realize how much I liked to draw until a year or two ago. It depends on how complicated it is, but I usually spend around four hours on a drawing. I have to finish it right away. Once I start it, I can't come back to it later."
"I was setting a new personal record in dead lift and was so set on getting the bar up I didn't realize how tight I was clenching my teeth. I felt a crack during the rep. I went to the doctors afterwards and found out that I had a broken tooth."
"I'm very pro-active about everything that I do. I would say that I'm a 'Go-Getter'. I plan everything down to the last detail. I can't stand not planning everything, because if it's not planned, then it won't get done."
"I like nature. I just like trees and being outside. I appreciate the sun, and when I'm inside for too long and it's sunny, I'll go out and stand in the sun for a while."
"I was born in Raleigh, which is in North Carolina. We moved when I was pretty young, but I have a bunch of family down in the south and I'm pretty familiar with the city. (North Carolina pride) is kind of in my blood."
"I asked my girlfriend, Olivia Arnold, out freshman year right after my team's last football game of the season. We were playing in Ames and she was there watching. She came down onto the field after the game and I basically just asked her before we got on the bus to go back. We've been dating ever since."
"I've been playing piano for about 11 years now. I've been playing since I was about five. I started playing at a piano studio called Keys and at one point they owned a studio and two of the people who worked there ended up opening their own studio and after my old piano teacher retired they opened up their own studio called Arrow Academy of Music, which is where I spent the rest of my time taking...
"I love Chic-Fil-A. Their employees are so polite and the drive through is super quick. The food is pretty good too - their chicken and sauce are perfect."
"One time I saved my dog's life. His name is Lucky, and I love him. I was pretending to be sick and my parents let me stay home. When I came downstairs after they left, I found him choking on a chicken bone. So basically, I saved his life by faking sick."
"I have family who lives in Egypt, my grandma and my aunt on my dad's side, so I've been there a few times before. It's pretty cool because I've been inside of a pyramid, and at the top you would think there would be a lot of stuff in there, but most of it was gone. It was probably people who had robbed the pyramids a long time ago. I remember there was only a casket left up there,"
“I’m in marching band, I play trumpet. One time I was with Brianna Johnson ‘18 and Nicole Jordan ‘18 it was sophomore year we went to Walgreens because we had a break before a football game, we all got one thing and I got Oreos. I ate like 17 Oreos in a row, it was the double stuffed Oreos so it was basically my daily carbs in Oreos.”
"Venturing is a part of Boy Scouts of America, and its for youth ages 14-21. Its kind of like Boy Scouts, but its co ed and you get to do a lot more high adventure activities. My family is heavily involved in scouting and I wasn't able to be a part of it for eight years because I'm a girl, and girls aren't aloud to be in Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts, so as soon as I was 14 I joined. I've learned a lot...
Veronika (Nika) Silkin
"Classes at Drake are a lot easier to transfer over for college credit, so when I get to college regardless of where I am, its going to be a lot easier to finish it sooner, which means paying for less years of college. I also really appreciate the environment that Drake creates because I feel like a lot of the responsibility for learning is on me, which is really different from a lot of high school...
"When Destiny 2 came out, I pulled a 72 hour grind for every exotic (special weapons) in the game. I went to school the day after, and was half dead. But I did not regret it at all"
"Benching is my favorite lift. I started lifting two years ago in the old high school's weight room. The main reason I wanted to put on muscle is so that I'm prepared for when I join the military"
"Over the summer, around mid June, my mom, sister, step dad, and I were hanging out it the living room. That's when my mom told us to go and check the bathroom closet, and I though it was a surprise for me. Then bam, it was a test saying I'm going to have another baby brother or sister! I was so excited! Last month I found out that I'm going to have another baby sister, and she's 6 months right now,...
"The worst things always happen to the best people, and that seems to be my entire life. My mom works at Child Serve and has spent her life for last couple years helping adults living in group homes who have special needs. On the first day of school she found out she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She goes and spends all her life selflessly and, its always her who gets the worst in life. She has...
"The Paul McCartney concert was the first real concert I've ever been to. I though it was extremely cool, especially since Paul McCartney is a legend, and he's 75, so he's probably not going to be singing much anymore. He was one of the original Beatles, and like I said he's a legend, and I'm not wrong about that. Honestly he's such a great singer, and it was so much fun, but the people there were...
"My favorite memory is when my family went to Minnesota. We went Mall of America, and it was great to spend time with them because we never really go anywhere anymore. Family is important to me because I know a lot of people don't have very strong connections with their family, and I'm lucky that I do."
"I nanny, and I have four children I have to look after, so it can be really stressful. Over the summer they had a contractor from Mediacom come over to fix the t.v.. I knew they were coming, but I didn't know who it was. This guy came up to the door, and when I opened the door he just walked in and didn't tell me his name or anything like that, he didn't say anything. I got a really weird vibe from...
"I first started band in 5th grade. Since I had played piano before, I got really good at the flute because I didn't need to learn to read music. It came really easily to me, and I started liking it more and really wanted to play harder music. Once I got to high school with marching band, band felt more like a family atmosphere. Everybody after school goes to the band room and chills out even if they...
"I am in Best Buddies. I joined because I support inclusion for everyone, no matter what their abilities are,"
"At the Ankeny Centenniel vs. Johnston game, there was a snap that went over over my head. There was a split second where I wasn't sure whether to pick it up or kick it out of bounds wasn't sure whether to pick it up or kick it it out of bounds, but I felt the rush coming so I decided to kick it. That play made a big difference in the outcome of the game,"
"I've been apart of Best Buddies for the past year or so, and I've had so much fun with it. I've always really wanted to be involved with some type of program that helps benefit everyone, and it's been that for me."
"I started cross country sophomore year, and I had a little bit of pain then, but it wasn't bad. I went back junior year and I could manage it, but this year track season was awful. At the beginning of the year I had to go to a physical therapist, and had to stop running which was horrible. We started to do a lot of stretching to try and get everything loosened up, and that helped for a couple weeks,...
"I own my own small business and I've had it for three years. I just make cupcakes for individual people.”
"I made varsity soccer last year as a sophomore. I was really proud because I was so determined after not making it as a freshman. I worked really hard this offseason, so it was great to see the payoff."
"I love sneakers. Sneakers are life. I like sneakers because they show art."
“I joined the national guard because it would increase my leadership skills and it would teach me more about how thing are done. If I were to mess up my plan A in the future, then the military will always be my backup. Plan A is majoring in business because business has always interested me.”
"I bring oranges to school and I eat them during 2nd period, there was this girl named Elise McGelliot who for the entire year I got her to peel my oranges , I'd give her like two or three oranges and she'd just peel them and hand them back."
“I make sure that the actors are on stage, that they have their lines down. If they mess it up, I correct them or politely read it to them. I also read through any missing characters and I also make sure people are standing in the proper place. And now that we have sets, we have to change some things up so, I just work with the director on what specifically needs to be changed. Then also, I make...
"I feel like have gained relationships that I never though I would. Especially with the underclassmen. Since they're in a different building, you don't really associate with them. So just getting to know all of the freshmen and some upperclassmen has been really helpful."
"I am currently an intern in Polk County Sheriff Office. I actually have responded to a few driveby shootings and some armed robberies, so I've definitely seen some interesting things while I'm with them. It is a little nerve wracking, it definitely gets your heart pumping when you know you're going to somewhere someone most likely will be armed. I stay in the car for super serious things like that,...
“My biggest fear is not being able to find a passion. I always try new things, join clubs, and do activities I’ve never done before . I try to step out of my confort zone just to be able to see what the experience is like... choosing a career path is difficult because I like doing so many things.”
“[I don’t dance anymore] partly just ‘cause my schedule got too full, like I had to skip out on other things. So like, ‘cause I had dance on Wednesday nights and I really wanted to go to youth group, because I really enjoyed that, like, more so than, I think, dance, and I couldn’t do both at the same time... [The class], it was all one, tap, jazz, ballet, and all that stuff. I started when...
"I've actually been water skiing since I was six. Our whole family waterskis, it's kind of a tradition that we do. All of our cousins up behind the boat, all of us skiing. We have trick skis that we do, and a bobsled that we have. Anything in my grandpa's shed. I tried synchronized swimming before. I'm up to try anything involving water."
Lauren Vander Waal
“Senioritis has affected me in a way I never expected. I’ve noticed it in little things such as my handwriting. I shouldn’t admit this, but my handwriting is so poor now I don’t care if teachers can read it. If it’s a pointless worksheet I don’t want to do I’ll just chicken scratch the whole thing.”
“I’ve lived in five different states so I’ve been exposed to a lot. In different states people had different attitudes. In Arkansas people were really friendly, and so were people in Kansas, and New York was full of stooges. Iowa is a bit of a mix between Arkansas and New York.”
“At the end of ninth grade, I got into eyeshadow and other makeup by watching youtubers like Bethany Mota. I used to be so embarrassed when I wore it because no one else wore makeup. Then, it was after tenth grade homecoming that I figured out the shape of my eye and how to do eyeshadow. I now do my makeup everyday. I will not leave my house without mascara or brows. I like to wear turtlenecks when...
“Ever since I was a kid I have suffered from panic attacks. They are extremely scary because a lot of the time I can’t control my movements. I remember this one time in particular where I accidentally punched a hole in my wall.”
“I think having divorced parents is definitely hard for some people, but luckily I have never really struggled with it. My parents still live together even though they have been separated for a while now. I think it is better hat they are divorced but I don’t enjoy having them live together in the same house.”
“Me and my friend were just really bored one day and my friend asked if my camera could shoot videos, I told her yeah so she started recording and that is just how it all started, we decieded to go to Merle Hay Lanes one night then took the elevator up into the closed mall, we were exploring some RV’s in thte mall until we heard the janitor then had to hide for a long time before sneaking out.”
“ In 7th grade, I didn’t want to do show choir, but then the high schoolers came over and I felt like I should try it, and I made it. At the Urbandale, competition, the piano was set into the wrong key, and our first 30 seconds was in the wrong key, but we where ble to change it back. Show choir has helped me meet new people and has had me come closer to others and being a better person because...
“I just found my suitcase and zipped myself inside so I could get some free time. I feel like the only time I can get away and get time to myself is when my siblings don’t know where I am. It was silent and dark and I fell asleep. But I like being the oldest, I like that they look up to me.”
“I’m really nervous to go to college. I’m going to Iowa next year, and I’m studying pharmacy. I’m more nervous about going there and not having my mom. I remember when I was younger my grandma lived there. We would always visit her, and she lived close to the campus, so we would have to drive through the campus to get there. I remember I always said, “I’m gonna go to Iowa when I get older...
"I'm involved in theater and I participated in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" last fall and that was really fun. I did "The Crucible" my sophomore year and I fell in love with it. I met a lot of my friends through it which made me keep coming back."
"In my DMACC linux security class, all I really do is sleep, because I already know everything in it. My teacher called me out for it. I told him I already know how to do everything. We started a lab that day and the lab is about three days long I stayed a little later and I finished the whole lab to prove to him I'm not dumb. I also had class with him last semester and all I did was sleep. So when...
"I was selling my shoes on Ebay and this guy tricked into sending him the shoes before he released the money. I sent him the shoes and was waiting on paypal to receive the money. Two weeks later I get a text from him saying "I got you man, you're never getting your money." and I never received my money, so I don't trust Ebay anymore after that."
"One time I walked into an Arabic prayer room thinking it was the men's bathroom in a mediterranean restaurant. I couldn't tell the difference because all the signs were in Arabic and there were no pictures or symbols differentiating the two bathrooms and the prayer room so I had to guess. I guessed wrong."
"I've always loved music, its just kinda a stereotype that four-year old girls go do ballet, but I did that for four years, and I decided that ballets sucks because theres too many rules. I wanted something where I could just, move. So, I took jazz, but that didn't jive well with me either. I tried hip-hop but then I found I was way too white for hip-hop. By that point I decided on modern dance, and...
"When I was 16 I did peanut desensitization, and I don't have a peanut allergy anymore, which is super cool! It started in July of 2014. Basically, all it was was they gave me Kool-Aid and they put a tiny tiny bit of peanut stuff in it. I couldn't even taste it, I just drank it. That occurred for a couple months and then it progressed to what they called peanut flowers. These capsules, you had to...
"This summer I attempted to make a movie. It was at summer camp for Boy Scouts. My inspiration came from a paper that I was given and it had this poorly drawn turtle on it. I named the film The quest for the Ice Turtle. It was a doomed failure from the start because I had a shoestring budget of about 20 bucks. I had a crew of about 10 people, most of them didn't do much, they were just there be...
"I met my husband online. We had a date from match.com . He was my last date, thank goodness, it would be kind of awkward if it wasn't. We have been married for 12 years, and we foster cats together. We have a foster right now, they are rather chunky and our job is to try to slim them down. We usually do anorexic cats, so we have done a couple of tube feedings. We do better with making them fat than...
"It was April Fools Day, and I was in a play and was supposed to play a queen. Then I thought, 'you know what would be really great? is if I wore a dress for the whole school day.' So on the day that I did it I first asked the principal to make sure it was okay. She said that she strongly suggested that I didn't do it but I said whatever and did it anyway. So during second period I asked to go to...
"One time, a couple of friends and I were trying to see some members of One Direction, and we heard that their families were staying at Trump Tower so we [kind of] snuck in. We wandered around for a couple hours just looking for them. We ended up only finding Liam Payne's dad so we took a couple photos with him and got to know him a little. He's really nice actually. We never got to see any of the...
"There was this one time that Edin, Sam, and I were going to go watch this really good action movie. It was the same day that "The Fault in Our Stars" came out. When we went to buy the tickets for the action movie it was already sold out. It was back when we couldn't drive so our moms had already dropped us off and left. So we decided to get tickets to "The Fault in Our Stars." The three of us just...
"In April I will be testing for my black belt. I go out to "Dojos Family Martial Arts" in Ankeny three or four nights a week. I have been doing it for about five years now. They have one place in Ankeny and one in Johnston that opened about a year ago. Martial arts is good for you."
"Coaching has definitely changed me the most. I think that all the clinics and the people I have talked to, sat in a conference and listened to, that are successful at their jobs, their coaching career, as a dad; all these people I have listened to have made me understand how important creating relationships are in my life. Whether it is my friends, my players or my students."
"My tattoo means 'Aparigraha' which has a lot of meaning, but the main meaning for me is 'Let it Go'. It was a yoga term and it kind of stuck with me to let go of any negative things because they're not going to help you in life. Its a self-help kind of thing and its always there to remind me to just let go."
“I have went through a lot of tough times with (the) passing away of a lot of close family members and losing a bunch of friends. I’ve just prayed about it constantly and God has helped me through it every time. Music always is a part of my life. Anytime I have horrible things going on or I’m in a bad situation, I listen to music, write my own music, play something on the piano and it helps a lot...
“I just want to be a good role model to my little brothers and sisters. If I can lead them in the right way, that's honestly all I need, dead serious. I will get my homework done, come back home on time, and honestly just be a good brother.”
"I want to go into construction management. There was this engineering program that I started doing in ninth grade because I took Intro to Engineering and Design at the middle school with Mr. (Mitch) Gearhart and he’s a great teacher.”
“It started about a year ago that my parents had a divorce. They were having arguments, so my mom moved out of the house and into an apartment, leaving me with my dad. I still visited her whenever I had the chance to and eventually she came back to the house and my dad moved out this summer which made it harder. I started to slowly adjust to it because I had distractions like music and school that...
"When I was five I wanted to be an artist, but right now I'm not at that stage. In reality I don't think I could make a career out of it. It's a life long thing, you don't necessarily have to make a career out of it to enjoy it your whole life."
"I am a certified master gardener. It's a class that you take through the Iowa State extension. I certified in 2005 and for the most part what it means is I like to dig in the dirt. The extension philosophy is that you share the information that you know so we can't be paid for the information that we know. I have always loved to dig in the dirt and my sister and two good friends of mine did it tog...
"Being diagnosed with Scoliosis and having to go through this ordeal for the past four years has made me realize how strong I am. I am strong, beautiful, and I happen to have a Curvy spine. I may not be Curvy on the outside but I am on the inside. And that's what counts. I started the Iowa chapter of the International Curvy Girls Scoliosis Support group because I wanted to connect with other girl...
"Didier and I were escorted out of the assembly last Friday. Before the assembly, I was in the restroom and Didier was waiting for me, which apparently rose suspicion. The day before when it was 14 degrees outside. He and I wore big coats, also raising suspicion. Finally, the rumor that was spread about Jake Ryan's "dream" that Didier and I were going to kill everyone at the assembly. The event that...
“When I first came to Johnston, I was playing in the youth football league. I was given the football on a designed play and I ran it for a touchdown. I continued to play football through middle school and now play on the Johnston High School team as a defensive linemen.”
"Animals are something I'm really passionate about. I'm really interested in forensic entomology, the study of insects. That's kind of animal-related, which would be my number one choice of what I want to do after school. People think I'm crazy. Whenever I see a spider, I put it on my finger and look at its little face."
“In first grade I had something with tree nuts in it. A few hours later I was at home laying in bed and kept throwing up. I was constantly throwing up for about a day. I then was told I was allergic to tree nuts. Now I have to check the labels of the foods I eat.”
"My mom had me when she was really young. My dad was in his 20s while she was still in high school. They didn't get married until after I was born. From what I hear about the memories, it wasn't the greatest marriage, there was a lot of stuff going on. It was sad to see that my parents weren't in love anymore. I tried my best to understand the situation growing up, but the thing is it doesn't mat...
“I do basketball and track in the spring. In track I do high jump and hurdles. My first year as a freshman i didn’t make it to state, second year I made it I got 15 out of 24 jumpers. My best jump for high jump is 6’ 2.”
“I'm really into cars. I love my car, I have an Infiniti g35x, it's a great car because it's fun to drive. I have started project cars with my uncle, I help him build cars every once in awhile when I go down to Sioux City. I have built Nissan cars and helped fix up his truck one time.”
"I was literally crying. I was very happy, very emotional, a lot of this has to do with my dad. I feel like it's that way for a lot of Cubs fans."
“Mandi's best attribute is her smile and her ability to make others around her smile. Mandi loves to have people around her and when they are she is always full of smiles and making sure that people are happy," her mother JoAnn Wilson said. "She enjoys listening to music and socializing with her friends.” “Mandi's favorite part of school is going out to classes.” Heather Menke, Mandi's t...
“Freshman year I tore my ACL playing basketball. I jumped and heard a pop and tore it. It was a six month recovery and eight months later I tore it again and also tore my meniscus. I had to sit out all of sophomore year.”
"Sometimes, I feel like the world is ending for me- in the way that I feel like things aren't ever going to get better. A lot of times I have to come to terms with that by myself. Since a lot of my friends have left for college, it's been so hard to communicate with them because they're changing into such different people that I don't really recognize anymore. It's frustrating because you know ...
"My mom has leukemia. And it's not something that goes away. So, if she doesn't stay with her pills it can come back. It hasn't and she's as healthy as a normal person now, which is amazing, but when she first got it I was a little kid. I didn't know anything about it, I just remember hearing something from school. Someone had read a story where there was a girl who had leukemia. She was in the ...
"My very first year teaching I had a couple of male students that grabbed like one of those media rolly carts and snuck it into the hallway and were riding up and down the hallway and I was really embarrassed, but another teacher was like 'It'll be okay' so it was okay, but they were a little naughty. Oh and I had a student jump out of a window after finals one time, like finished his final,...
"I was in an accident about three months ago. It was raining and we could barely see anything. We went up on a curb and crashed. We were about two inches away from death. And all I could think of was, 'Crap, there goes my car.'"