The “Them HW Kids” Tumblr has had more than 180,500 hits since its inception, gets 13,000 hits per month and 650 hits per day. Its leaders insist that the account stands for “Them Homework Kids” and is in no way school affiliated.
Regardless, droves of Harvard-Westlake students flock to the site each day, chuckling at GIFs (graphics interchange format images) that aim to accurately satirize the lives of high school students everywhere.
Luna* ’14 created the blog shortly before school started as “a funny way to cheer people up.”
“Around Sept. 22, the site just seemed to go viral,” she said.
To accommodate the demand for posts, Luna formed what is now a team of five, including fellow top contributor Pam* ’13. They say that secrecy about the blog’s membership has been key to its success.
“At the start, we didn’t really know what we were doing, and we figured anonymity would help us sweep things under the rug if things fell apart,” Pam said.
Pam is also responsible for bringing back “The Overheard” via the themhwkids blog, which features humorous conversations overheard by students. This part of the site is based on a similar blog composed by anonymous seniors in the Class of 2009, which went by the same name.
Pam did research before reinstating “The Overheard,” talking to one of the ’09 seniors who managed the blog and reading old Chronicle articles about “The Overheard” to gauge general faculty and administration opinions about the site.
She skimmed “Have You Heard,” a feature written by Allegra Tepper ’10 in April 2009, in which former Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra said that while he considered the letters “HW” to be school-affiliated, he didn’t mind the vulgar language sometimes featured in “The Overheard” because “this generation is more open to crude expressions.”
After reading this, Pam figured the new addition to themhwkids would not meet opposition. When she showed the site to chemistry teacher Nate Cardin, she said he responded “hilarious.”
Between the two blogs, themhwkids has accumulated a cult following, even generating knockoff blogs. Apparently, a group of freshmen created a Tumblr called “Them 2016 Kids,” which Luna and Pam dislike because the blog does claim to be affiliated with the school and to be based on themhwkids, which Luna said could compromise her blog and its reception.
“We really have no affiliation to the school,” she said. “First of all, there are a lot of non-Harvard-Westlake kids who visit it. I don’t want it to be directly affiliated with the school because that restrains what we can say and how we say it.”
Regadless, Pam said that working on the blog is rewarding.
Overall, Luna said that she doesn’t see the site as a success or a failure. She’s just in it to help stressed kids and take their minds off of studying for a little while. She would not mind working with more people either.
“Of course, we’re always looking for an extra hand,” reads a post on the blog.
*names have been changed