On Thursday, Nov. 9, Howell High School held its first-ever student TEDx event. Ten current Howell High School students and one alumnus shared inspirational stories and ideas with attendees.
A TEDx event is a spin-off of the popular TED Talks. According to the TEDx website, “the TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences.”
The students who presented at the event were John Seck, Ashley Dunn, Gwyneth Labine, Allison Mitter, Jordan Chantaca, Jakob Ferris, Andrea Spisak, Mikayla Norton, Jenna Wincher, Jared Osborne and Emmaly Badgett. The topics discussed ranged from overcoming the challenges posed by dyslexia to the importance of community service and celebrating diversity. One talk even covered geckos and their role in nanotechnology development.
“During my practices, I never got emotional, but seeing everyone getting emotional, I realized what I was saying did have an impact,” Wincher said. “Something like this gives students a voice, and I think it is really good for them to feel like they have a voice.”
Badgett, a Howell High School alumnus, returned home from Lake Erie College to speak about celebrating diversity: “Howell has been home to me since I was 4 years old. It has been everything I have known my whole school-aged life. I feel it is important to talk about the negative stereotype that surrounds Howell for not being diverse and accept that but also celebrate the people in the community who are diverse and make Howell what it is.”
Jason Schrock, Howell High School principal, and Brian McCarthy, Howell High School assistant principal, led the planning efforts for the event. The pair had been discussing hosting a student TEDx event early last year, with planning starting after McCarthy learned about the licensing requirements and details of hosting a TEDx event at the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) conference in the spring.
“The goal of the TEDx event was to give our students a platform to tell their stories, inspire others and share their ideas that are worth spreading. So many of our students have accomplished great things and some have even overcome great adversity, “said McCarthy. “Our students are the most inspirational people in our schools, and our goal is simply to give them a forum to have their voice be heard.”
About the TEDx Program
The TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations, and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences. At TEDx events, a screening of TED Talks videos — or a combination of live presenters and TED Talks videos — sparks deep conversation and connections at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, under a free license granted by TED.