York Students in action
Last Thursday, September 15, the second annual TEDxYorkSchool brought compassion, ingenuity, and imagination to the stage as four York School students, two alumni, a faculty member, and a York School parent presented to a packed theater of community members. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, featured local voices and TED Talks videos under the theme of “Apply Now.”
Launched in 2009, TEDx is a program of locally organized events that bring the community together to share a TED-like experience. Some of the best talks from TEDx events have gone on to be featured on TED.com and garnered millions of views from audiences across the globe.
In the spirit of TEDx and the “Apply Now” theme, the event started with attendees getting hands-on, putting the finishing touches on their name badges. One attendee was taught how to solder wires to make the badge light up, and then passed the knowledge on to the next arrival who continued the pattern.
After the primer, guests made their way to their seats, eager to hear what else the event had to offer. This year’s collection of TEDxYorkSchool presenters was a group of motivated individuals making use of the innovations and technologies at our disposal in order to change and better understand our world. Speaking about the event, York School’s Director of Technology and TEDxYorkSchool Organizer, Kevin Brookhouser, shared, “This year's TEDxYorkSchool proved that not only are our students and community members prepared for the future, we learned that they're also active architects of that future, applying their knowledge and creativity to drive positive change.”
Presenters at the 2016 TEDxYorkSchool included:
Lekha Duvvoori ’18
For Lekha, picture books have always been more than images on a page. Picture books unlock the imagination, providing joyous escapes into one’s own heart and mind. At TEDxYorkSchool, Lekha shared her experience collecting and reading books to kids in Doctor’s waiting rooms, and how that experience manifested and grew into her setting up a library in rural India.
Samantha Wishnak ’06
Samantha’s inner pioneer has taken her into the depths of our great oceans, using submarines and ROV’s to discover what lies beneath our shores. Together with her diverse team, the expeditions are live streamed back to land so that people can share the experience in real time. What does this allow and what did Samantha want audience members to realize? Everyone can be an explorer.
Isabelle Sanford ’17
Spectrographs are truly amazing tools. They allow one to see the makeup of a star based on the colors and absorption rates of the elements that appear when looking through a telescope equipped with the device. York senior Isabelle spent the summer not only building a spectrograph with MIRA, but actually using one to catalog the matter of specific stars in our galaxy. She shared the perspective one gains when confronted with the reality that she might be looking at a star in a truly unique way, stating for everything scientists have learned over the years, there is so much we still don’t know and haven’t seen.
John Daniel, York School Faculty
Are hands-on learning and online learning compatible concepts? John Daniel made the case that they, in fact, are. Noticing a lack of online learning opportunities for beginners in a foreign language (most online language courses are for advanced students), Monsieur Daniel described how a beginning online French language curriculum could blend with live, interactive meetings. He then challenged the audience to come up with solutions for things that don’t yet exist in their own lives.
Max Rosenblum ’19
Turning up the volume, student DJ Max showed audience members the art of creating new sound. Max mixed different songs together giving audience members a chance to get up and apply their dancing skills.
Patrick Griffith, York School Parent
As a heart surgeon, and more broadly as an individual, part of growing is making apparent impossibilities, possible. After all, there was a time when open-chest heart surgery was impossible. Now, as science moves toward the next impossible medical operations, Patrick shared his thoughts on robot doctors, and the future of medicine.
Teagan Mauck ’17
With an autistic brother, Teagan has been shaped by her sibling’s experiences. Uniquely situated, Teagan shared not just her brother’s challenges and triumphs, but also her experiences and how they affected her growing up, influencing her compassionate worldview. For audience members, Teagan’s talk was a reminder to be open and curious about those we encounter.
Joseph Rhee ’17
Everyone deserves education. Joseph believed that before he went to Capetown, South Africa over the summer, and came back even more determined to make sure that no child is left uneducated. Joseph encouraged people to make even small impacts, because those small impacts, over time, and when repeated over and over again, grow exponentially, changing lives forever.
Constantine Perepelitsa ’06
Constantine’s presentation was an ode to the long lost art of reading instructions. While computer programming is without a doubt complicated, there is a surefire first step: read the manual. With sage advise, Constantine reminded the audience that it is ok not to know what to do, but what is not ok, is not trying. Just make sure to read the manual before you start.
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About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.
TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.