By Julia Bohnen ’24, pictures by Anderson Gao ’24
Humans of WPGA is inspired by Humans of New York, a project started in 2010 with the aim to give the world a view into the lives of strangers living in New York City. With over 20 million followers, this account has initiated a new style of journalism that intimately connects readers with people they’ve never met before.
Each Humans of WPGA volume will showcase short profiles of students who attend our school. Aimed at bringing our community closer during this year of intended connection, we hope that HOWPGA allows you to see inside the lives of students attending our school and encourages you to seek connections with people you’ve yet to meet. And who knows, maybe you’ll meet a new friend, or a few!
Sofia Cicci (’22) is the first interviewee of Humans of WPGA! She is currently in Grade 12 and has been at the school since Pre-K.
“My name is Sofia Cicci and I am in grade 12. I’m a dancer, I don’t think a lot of people know that about me. I do every type of dance but my favourite is contemporary or lyrical. I’ve been at the school since Pre-K so I’m a lifer. So that’s probably 13 or 14 years? Recently, I’ve been thinking about school a lot. It’s the beginning of the year so university applications are coming. I was always so ready to leave, but now it’s hitting me and it’s a bit sentimental, like I’m not ready to leave – it’s a bit sad! If I was looking back on my experience, my 13 years here, I would say be very very true to yourself. I think I wasn’t authentically me for a period of time, even around friends and I think that’s so much more difficult and stressful than just being who you are. And you figure it out as you go. I would say be real to your teachers in how you talk and how you act – just be as authentically you as you can be! That’s a long process though, you have to be comfortable with yourself. Also the little things don’t matter – it doesn’t matter if you fail a quiz! Have more confidence in yourself that you can do things. Try to not get caught up in marks – if you’re putting your best effort in that’s enough! I can’t even explain how helpful confidence is! I think appreciating outside validation is good, but not letting it be your only measure of self worth is so important. And practicing being your authentic self helps with confidence! Over the years, I think everyone in my grade has been so inspirational to me. To see how much we all grew and evolved is crazy! They all inspire me in different ways. I think their energy attests to our school. It’s weird seeing them all grow up and I’m growing up with them.”
Ben Sjerven is new to the school this year and here’s what he had to say!
“My name is Benjamin Sjerven (“23) and I’m in grade 11. My last name is Norwegian, I don’t know how much Norwegian I actually have in me but it’s cool! I think my hobbies are shown, I play soccer a lot so that’s pretty obvious to the people I already know but if I had more time I would probably do Model UN or Debate.
I’ve been at the school for four weeks and it’s been pretty good. My first day of school at every school I’ve been to is always kind of surreal. This is my second high school and I went to two elementary schools, so it’s kind of that first day feeling of like “Wow I have to do this again.” I would say keep it up! There’s a really good community here that’s really warm and friendly to newcomers! I came from Sir Charles Tupper in East Van. Everyone here is super nice and the teachers too. It’s been an easy start! Every day, when I get to school, all the teachers and staff are really warm and friendly so that always hits me in a different way. I don’t want to say it’s surprising, but it’s almost surprising! I love the teachers’ passion. It’s clear that the teachers really like what they’re doing and want to be here which surprises me almost every time I notice. So many people have inspired me but I’d probably have to name my dad. He came from little and he turned it into a lot. And he has that hunger and that motivation that I really admire and has taught me a lot of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in life. On a day to day basis, to the person who keeps me in line, who makes sure I do all my homework and stuff, I’d have to give a special shoutout to my mom.”
Thanks so much to Sofia for her lifer perspective and Ben for his newcomer insights about life and the school! Make sure to tune into the next volume to see inside the lives of other Humans of WPGA.