By Rebecca Nussbaum
Halfway through fourth period, photography teacher Kevin O’Malley’s silver hair glinted as he rushed into the photography lab.
“Mr. O’Malley!” cheered the Photography III students at the sight of their teacher.
“You’re late,” Jon Chu ’12 said.
O’Malley said he had confused the schedule, and although it was two days before the opening of his students’ showcase, he wasn’t very worried. After all, this photo class is different than his other periods, he said. This is “Ohana.”
Most of the 11 seniors in Photography III have been in photo class together since sophomore year, Asha Jordan ’12 said. Junior year they named their class the Hawaiian word for family, “Ohana,” from the Disney movie “Lilo and Stitch.”
“Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind,” Nikki Goren ’12 said, quoting the movie.
“I think I just said it one day,” Chloe Lister ’12 said. “Ohana. And it stuck.”
As usual, Reyna Calderon ’12 searched for the right background music on YouTube, settling on Tyga’s “Rack City.”
She then joined the rest of Ohana in the back of the classroom where they were taking pictures in front of a white screen. The classmates smoothly alternated between snapping pictures of their friends and posing in the shots.
Simone Bookman ’12 danced with Graydon Feinstein ’12 in front of the camera.
“’Scuse me, why are you on my husband?” Jordan said.
Jordan reclaimed Feinstein and smiled triumphantly at the lens as she pulled on Feinstein’s tie.
The intimacy in Ohana is particularly unique because the photography students come from different friend groups, Calderon said. Unlike typical classroom friendships, though, the photographers sit with each other in the quad or talk whenever they see each other, she said.
“I’m friends with Emma Gerber [’12],” Goren said. “That’s really cool to say.”
After about 15 minutes, the photographers refocused and made their way toward the computers to write “blurbs,” explanations of their photo projects. However, the playful energy didn’t dissipate.
Sophie Turner ’12, dubbed “class model,” twirled in a swivel chair while taking pictures of herself.
“The fact that Sophie is over there taking selfies is ridiculous,” Jordan said.
Lister reminisced about the early days of Ohana.
“That time when Emma’s horse died, and we group hugged,” Lister said. “I felt it.”
Goren asked Calderon if she would continue to shave the side of her head, and Josiah Yu ’12 replied for her mockingly, “I don’t know, I do whatever I want with my hair, whatever, whatever,” with a fake sigh.
“And this is how almost every class is,” O’Malley said with a half smile at the end of the period. “See you guys Monday.”