Creating and Showcasing Future Leaders at the Village TED Talks
In the eyes of most high school students, TED Talks are often seen as a platform for adults with bright minds to share their ideas, thoughts, and experiences. Devoted to expressing ideas through short and empowering talks of usually 18 minutes or less, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a nonprofit that welcomes people of different cultures and communities who seek a deeper and better understanding of topics of the world. This year, after going through a rigorous application process, junior Vy Thai brought this unique platform to the Village School by starting the TED-Ed club, TED’s youth and educational initiative. Thai is a residential life student at The Village School and has used his experiences growing up in Vietnam to make a change around campus. TED Talks have always been a part of his life, and through this club, he wants to be able to share these special experiences with his peers. “At first, I wasn’t good at English, and so I usually watched TED Talks to learn English. [Through my experience], I realized that we should have a TED-Ed club,” Thai said. [Also] when I was looking at all of the clubs in this school, I didn’t see any clubs for the students to voice their ideas. We have clubs like MUN, where students talk about national issues, but I wanted a club that is an ideal environment for students to share their ideas.” Thai’s TED-Ed club stands out from most of the clubs at Village because of its unique collaboration with TED. “We’re not alone. We’re running under the guidelines of TED,” Thai said. “Throughout the course of our time together, members have been guided by our club members and advisor under the direct guidelines of TED on how to turn their ideas into influential speeches to be featured on TED's platforms.”
The largest event organized by the club this year was the Village TED Talks on April 24. The leadership team, including advisor Mina Petrolito and juniors Duc (Tom) Nguyen, Ha (Jessica) Tran and Chiara Falcone as well as all of the other club members worked hard to organize this event that took nearly a year to plan. At the end however, their hard work paid off as students from different backgrounds were able to share their ideas and experiences, while inspiring one another along the way. “The TED Talks were an opportunity for students to voice their opinions and speak their mind,” said sophomore Melanie Menkiti, the Video Production Leader for the club who helps students put together their TED Talk videos for YouTube. “Students who otherwise don’t make an impact on the student body (for example, they don’t participate in sports, clubs, etc.) were able to make an impact through these talks.” The event covered a variety of topics, but mainly centered around the speaker’s stories and how they pursued their dreams. Menkiti was one of the 18 speakers that night, and she admits that her experience was life changing. “I have a rather irrational fear of public speaking, so it was exhilarating, to say the least,” Menkit said. “I rehearsed my talk for weeks beforehand to ensure that I wouldn’t get too nervous, and luckily the lights were bright enough that I couldn’t see anyone in the audience. I think most people would assume that it’s easy to forget it [the speech], but once you start speaking, you don’t even think about remembering it — you’re just speaking.”
Want more buzz like this? Sign up for our Morning Buzz emails.
To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Or you may post as a guest.