Humans of WTCS

Maybe you see them every day, maybe you’ve never heard of them before. Nonetheless, everyone has a story, perhaps even as vivid and complex as your own.  In my last week of high school, I wanted to capture the final experience of some of those who defined my own experience over the years. Inspired by Humans of New York (as many are), I set out to capture this through photography and interview.


“Hi, my name is Murad, I’m a student here, if you couldn’t guess that already. At this point I’m just finishing up the last bits of work I have in all my classes tryna finish off the semester. I think I’m a little nervous about finishing school after 12 years, but I’m excited to move on to a higher level of education, like I think there’s a lot more in the world that I want to learn, so I’m excited about that. I’m definitely definitely going to university for the first few years, and after that I don’t really know. I’d like to go into physics and maybe move into comp sci or climate studies after that.”

Aidan M.

“Hi I’m Aidan, MacCready, the good one. Grade 12, Western Tech, y’know all those things. I’m excited for prom tonight, I think it’s gonna be pretty fun. I’m pretty done with school, it’s been fun, I’ve enjoyed all of it but I’m ready to go. After graduation, for this summer my plans are mostly sleep and work and cottage and stuff and then I’m going to Queens. Going for Sciences, it’s one of those programs where you declare a major second year but I’ll probably go into organic chemistry or biochem. Western tech isn’t real y’all. I hope people continue our shenanigans otherwise I’ll have to come back.”


“Hey I’m Micah. Grade 12 student at Western. I dunno, worked a lot on the yearbook and I’m the best badminton player here. I’m just happy the year’s wrapping up, of course there’s prom but that’s not really a worry on my mind. I’m just finishing the year. I’m really excited for grad, I’ve been at Western for too long. And although there’s been good times like winning badminton regionals, I’m happy to move on, especially going on to programs I’m more interested in. I’m going to Carlton in Ottawa for architecture. I think since I’ve been doing design for a long time I think that’s a really interesting path, and just getting to delve into things I’m more interested in.”


“Hi, my name is Baines, first initial T. Y’know schools wrapping up, I’m just having a good time this June, livin it. Graduating? I am super excited, I feel like high school has been sooo long. Not bad or good, just like long and I feel like everyone’s ready for a change to explore and learn new things. Next year I’m going to UBC with a full scholarship fuck yeah! I’m sorry that I’m moving to BC and I didn’t tell anybody about it. And by anybody I mean [laughing] one person in particular that I just haven’t told yet.”


“Uh hi, my name is Asha. I’m a grade 12 student graduating this year. I’m very passionate about robotics, I’m the co-captain of the robotics team here, and yeah I’m very interested in STEM and that’s why I’m in the robotics SHSM here. I’m my mind today is mostly culminating projects and y’know prom’s this evening as well, so both of those things. I’m so ready to be out of here. I’m going to University of Waterloo for Engineering and plan to get my degree there and then probably get my MBA after that.”


“My name is Findlay. Well, today is prom and I’m just thinking about like, mostly all the assignments that I’m not going to be able to do tonight because of it. Uh, there’s a lot of them. I’m very behind. Just like, planning on moving out, living on my own and working a lot over the summer and then taking a year off, and then applying to college or university. I’m really excited to graduate. I know high school was definitely an experience- I don’t really know if it was good or bad though. I know that there was a lot of struggle my first few years. And this year too to be honest. There were a lot of ups and downs, real rollercoaster but I’m happy to be graduating. And all that’s not to say that I’m happy to leave because there’re some parts I’ll miss but a lot that I’m really excited to put behind me.”


“So yeah, my name’s Elizabeth, I’m a grade 12. Well I’m just thinking of all the culminating projects and all the exams we have to do but I’m also really excited for our commencement. I’m a little nervous to finish but at the same time I’m excited to get out there and do something with my work. Next year I’m going to Guelph to study studio art and hopefully double major with psychology. I’m just really happy I got to meet everyone at Western, it’s changed my whole life.”


“I’m Avigail. That’s with a V. I feel like I have to point that out. On my mind today? Sad thoughts to be honest. I’m not looking forward to graduation at all. I’m kinda disappointed because I feel like I didn’t make enough friends or like I lost opportunities to connect with a lot of people and I don’t know I feel bad I feel like I could have done more. But that’s that. I had a good experience with the school system itself, I only came in halfway through grade 9 so I can’t say I had any particular introduction. But the solid three years that I have been here has been a good experience for the most part for me. I’m especially a big fan of how active the school is politically. I still wanna make more friends, so, like, if anybody’s down I’m for it.”


“I’m Minh. That’s as much as you need to know about me really. I woke up at 11 today and I’m still pretty tired so that’s a thing babyyy. Right now I’m trying to pass my classes but there’s not too much left to do at this point. Y’know how university offers are conditional? That’s just it, that’s just me right now babyyyy. The public school system’s a scam to enforce ideals on individuals. But then again, it gives people a structure. People need a structure. Higher education should be free though. Free education babyyyy. After graduation I plan to run into the forest, read a book, and learn how to grow a beard. I think, I dunno, if people wanna know what my plans actually are for university they can come and ask me. Though I really do sorta want to run into the forest. Roam the of North America, maybe South America. Maybe save the planet some time.”


“Hi I’m Aleks. I’m 19. And I’m gonna graduate this year- hopefully. There’s a lot going on right now. Exams. Useless exams. Graduating. Going to a school that matters and teaches me things of actual importance. I feel like it should just be- this is gonna sound weird but, there shouldn’t be a big change from like “oh this high school” where you learned roughly nothing except for learning how to make a decision on what you want to do for a career. That’s really all you get out of high school. And then you just have to move on to another school. Like it should really be you start off your first year, and then you like basically take college courses. Like actually at a college, well not like that level, but just to help you ease into it like “hey, now you know what you’re going to do. Figure out the rest.” After grad, I guess I don’t know. Maybe I want to do photography. Like I don’t find it to be very good from a business standpoint, like if you were trying to get a half decent paying job for photography and all. But I’ll definitely get more into it, and see where that goes, but other than that I’ll probably just be a zookeeper. Yeah that’s about it.”


“Hi, my name is uh, Mason. Fourth year student here at Western. On my mind today? That’d be all the exam preparations- I finally got all of the projects out of the way which means it’s all just exams, but y’know, I gotta switch between different classes to study for. Well I mean it’s been a while in the school system. I’m not really sure what it’s gonna be like after graduation, I don’t really think any of us can know what it’s gonna be like considering how long we’ve been doing this. For the short term, at least this summer I’m gonna have a lot more free time, which means I can maybe get to working out more, maybe get a part time job, and from there back into post-secondary. Well, I had a lot of indecision these years, and after a lot of y’know, self discovery and figuring out what you wanna do, I’ve decided to take a gap year and then go to college. I don’t know if I’m gonna have fond or dark memories of this place, but I’m gonna have memories alright.”


“I’m Kaldhen [laughs] and I’m in grade 12. Im kinda sick today which is weird cause I get sick like once every two years so like it’s happening now and I’ve got exams in two days? One day? I don’t really remember. Today’s Monday and exams are on Wednesday so that’s two days, yes. Okay. Yeah. So that’s gonna be great. I also don’t have computer accommodations. That was a mistake. IEP whoops. I don’t really care about graduating. I’m not actually graduating this year. I’ll be graduating, uh, next year? I thought multiple times about being just like “fuck it” and dropping out altogether, cause I don’t really care? But also my mom would be disappointed.”


“Hi, I’m Hadara, and you’re watching the @humansofwtcs channel! Right now I’m literally just thinking about my English exam and how badly it’s gonna go. I mean I don’t think it’s gonna go that bad but like I don’t have that much faith in myself ya feel? So y’know. Other than that I’m looking forward to getting out of this hellhole. I love the people but everything else just sucks. So y’know. I think graduating will be great. I’m looking forward to sitting in a hot auditorium for hours, watching people graduating. It’ll be good. It’ll be something at least. I’m gonna go to Ryerson and have a lit time there with Rye Gang. Shout out to all you people. Also, Kaldhen is a dick. But I get to say that cause he’s my best friend.” 


“Hi, I’m Amina Vance, I’m 18, I unfortunately go to Western Technical Commercial School. [Laughing] what’s going on is I’m tryna graduate, what’s going on is I have to do my exams and also I’m really concerned about climate change. I want to be valedictorian also so if anyone knows people on the selection committee they should really… I’m concerned about my chances of being valedictorian at this moment. Thank God I’m graduating. Western’s a… A school. I think? It’s something alright. And I’m never gonna come back. And also university should be public and free, and so we should just continue in the public education system should be like a holistic method of educating and uplifting the people, and should not end when you become usable under a capitalistic system. After graduation me and Sarah are gonna go to Montreal and then we’re gonna go to Scotland and then we’re gonna go to France. I’m so down for that. Western Tech is a really messed up place. If you’re there still please do your best to make it better than it was for us.”


“Heya, I am Alec Freda, I’m a recent graduate from 2018, that’d be my introduction. It’s a fantastic day out, it is the last day of school, and I hope everyone has a fantastic day. I hope everyone from Western has a fantastic graduation, has a great summer, and I wish you all the best in September. I think for all students after graduation, it’s a struggle to find out what you want out of life. Don’t feel pressured to go in any one direction, because after 18 years in a system like this, the next 50 or 60 years are completely up to you. And it will be as good as you make it. Honestly I’ve just been taking it easy since graduating myself. I wanted to find work, but I ended up doing more education, and now I’m going off to Humber North Campus for industrial design, and I’m gonna take it easy and have a good time, and we’ll see what happens. I think I’m slightly disappointed with this year’s yearbook, but I like the color theme. It was really nice being back at Western for another day.”


“Hi I’m Ren, I’m 18, I’m in grade 12. I’m in Design Studio, I used to run the drama club. On my mind today would be graduating from the NYGH day program- that’s really scary. That’d the main thing on my mind. Yeah, graduating from that program is really scary. It’s been my home for the last eight months and everyone there is so incredible and have had such a huge impact on my life and shaping who I am. So leaving that’s really scary but I just wanna go out into the world and make them proud, use all that the things that I’ve been taught. I don’t really have as strong opinions as other people on the school system really, schools have served me well enough. I can read, I can write. Hmm, Western is… All of, well, all of my friends are here, all of the people I care about are here. The teachers are my people, like Dizuma and Marcella and Khan are my people and they have been incredible in supporting me over the last year. Going forwards I want to be a nurse. That is what I am here in this world to do. I’ve been a nurse to everyone since I was like nine, so I don’t know why I didn’t see it earlier. My dream program is Ryerson Nursing. I’ve never wanted something so much in my life. I want to do labour and delivery, and maybe maternity cause that’s what I volunteered in, or maybe adolescent psych, cause I’ve been through there, I feel like I could help those kids. I’ve been in the mental health system for a very long time. Yeah, I’ve just been reflecting on how far I’ve come recently. I’ve been trying to focus on that to distract me from being so scared from existing in the world with people, and like yeah. This year I’ve come so far, and like this time last year I was actually dying, it was really bad. School was a mess, and everything wasn’t very good. But like, all of my friends, you guys have been incredible with supporting me, and all of the people I have, all of the doctors and social workers and all of them, they’ve helped me so much and they helped me get through and survive the summer, and that was really incredible. Yeah, I was in and out of the hospital a lot last summer, that was really rough. I’ve been reflecting on myself now vs sitting there alone in a hospital room at 2am, and I can see how far I’ve come. I’ve been in the day hospital at North York General for eating disorders for the last 8 months. It’s a terrible building, it’s mostly abandoned, but we have a lot of fun. We mess around and get into all kinds of trouble. Those kids have been incredible, those kids have done so much for me. And all those staff. Like, it hasn’t been all fun, there have been days when I hated it and all of that, but they’ve, that program has been incredible, I’m going to miss them a lot. And, yeah right now I just want to make all of those people who’ve gotten me to this point proud, that’s what’s driving me to do well after I leave the program. I want to make all of those people proud, cause they’ve done so much for me, and the way I can make them proud is going out into the world and making myself a life using what they’ve taught me. They’re going to be there to catch me if I fall, I know, but I just want to make them all proud and get out into the world I guess. I can’t live in the hospital forever.”