On March 10th students, led by our own Kelly McManus, hosted GDRHS's 2nd Annual Tedx Youth Event. I wanted to share the summary with everyone reagarding such an innovative and student driven event that I hope will continue for years to come.
By Kelly McManus
As you may know, TED is an annual conference that brings together the world’s leading thinkers and doers to share ideas that matter from a variety of disciplines: technology, entertainment, design, science, humanities, business development, etc. These short thought provoking talks engage the audience and strive to make a positive difference by sharing ideas.
In that same spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a local, self-organized event that brings together people to share a TED-like experience. On March 10th, the high school held our
second TEDxYouth@GDRHS event to a nearly sold out audience.
Students in the TEDx club this year chose this year’s theme: The Pursuit of Creativity, and under the leadership of senior, Zoe Pappas, they applied for an official license from TED, solicited, interviewed and selected speakers, curated and planned out every detail of the night. This year’s club members are Alek Valles, Kyla Yates, Emily Scalf, Robert Carr, Zach Gavel, Avi Jivanani, Jennifer Kenney and Zoe Pappas.
As an educator, the TedxYouth event is, bar none, the very best experience I’ve had. My role as the advisor is to mentor and support student leaders. I’m humbled by the dedication, creativity and talent that our students have. This year our program consisted of six talks: seniors, Connor Griffiths and Amelia Maguire spoke on memes, GD alumnus, Greg Mahan spoke about carving out time daily for developing your interests, and teacher Jon O’Connor made us think about how we perceive color. In addition we had three other speakers who came from outside our walls. Dr. Chris Willard, a Harvard University Psychology professor returned to deliver a talk on compassion and social contagion, young entrepreneur Nick Friedman traveled from NYC to inspire the audience to try new things daily, take risks and be true to yourself, and Kledia Spiro, who came to America as a child from war torn Albania, talked about how she combines her love for olympic weightlifting and art to explore the idea of “weight” that we all lift. Senior, Zach Gavel kept the flow of the night as our Master of Ceremonies.
The spirit of generosity is astounding at GD! If it weren’t for the dozens of teachers, staff and students who volunteer their time and expertise to help with coaching speakers, lighting, video recording and editing, tech support, displaying art, playing music, or assisting with a million other details this would be a very different night. I especially love the collegiality between the adults and students to create something bigger than any one person and in many cases where the traditional roles of authority are reversed. Over the course of a few months, I get to witness our students confidence grow through these consistent positive interactions.
I’d like to thank everyone who participated, supported or attended our event and I’m excited to share with you that we are already making plans to bring TEDxYouth@GDRHS back to the high school next year.