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An Amazing TEDxYouth@EB

Blog Type:  Middle School
Date Posted:  Thursday, December 20, 2018

The EB Middle School hosted its third TEDxYouth@EB conference in November. This year, ten students presented talks inspired by the theme “The Age of Amazement”. The months of preparation and rehearsal that went into each of the talks showed that morning. Every presentation came from personal experience and passion for an idea. The 7th and 8th graders who took the stage demonstrated compelling focus and stage presence that kept a room full of peers rapt. All the while being videotaped for TEDx! The participants had one shot and did amazing work.

The event was kicked off by EB parent and animal conservationist JG Collomb who dedicated his life to working with the animals and people of Africa. The second speaker was EB Alum class of 2000 Eli Marienthal who asked the core questions, "Who are you?" and "What are your here for?"  Eli took his audience on a journey of self-discovery and invited people to think about our own "personal ripples." Watch his talk and all the other talks here.

After the two adults “guest” speakers, ten 7th and 8th graders took the stage one after the other: Charlotte Carmany suggested that sci-fi authors have been inspiring inventors for generations to bring their ideas to life. Clarissa Mure advised students to not let their perceived lack of creativity keep you from using the language of art and that art is a language that everyone should be encouraged to use for self expression.  

Curing blindness

Alexandra Kozlova’s talk focused on how cataract surgery is now an affordable option to help cure blindness thanks to some amazing technological improvements. Gaspard Choquet asked how do we keep the "awe" of amazement throughout our lives and suggested that we intentionally try and keep our ability to be amazed by letting our inner child shine.

Sasha Privat gave us an update on how we can do our part to mitigate ocean plastic pollution, while Stella Pfeifer asked how can it be that in 2018 we still don't have an equal rights amendment in the United States?

Leyla Akcaoglu addressed the issue of cultural stereotypes and took the example of Colombia, a vibrant and diverse country with a strong heritage of innovation. Leyla shared all the things that amaze her about Columbia, the country of her family. Social media use was the topic chosen by Erin Kirby. She posed the question: hile it is all around us and has many benefits, do the latest headlines concerning privacy and the effects on the brain warrant its use?

Textile waste

Margot Saulnier challenged us to all think differently about our approach to being "in style" as she explained the current state of textile waste in the world and offered some personal solutions. "Every night we have the opportunity to look at the night sky but how much do we know about space, stars, and the future of astronomy?", asked Alec Loustau, as he shared with the audience some of the amazing advances in telescope technology and what this could mean for the future.

After the talks, students participated in hands-on projects.  They learned about the principles of an electric motor organized by EB parent Alex LaGatta. Participants built a simple motor using powerful Neodymium magnets, a conductor, and a battery. In an activity designed by local artist and writer Cleo Papanikiola’s from her beautiful, new book The Opposite is Also True  and Middle School Art and English teacher Sue Campbell, students experimented with shoe design with the activity challenge to either “Keep it simple” or “Celebrate Excess.”  In a third activity students made gel boba with parents Ann Lefkovitz and Robin Kirby.

Hands-on activities

Two student art exhibitions were also on display. Middle School Art teacher Olga Popova’s student projects inspired by Joseph Cornell’s work interpreted the theme through homemade shadow boxes decorated with used found objects, images, and other materials to tell a story. And photos from Sue Campbell’s Art 8 class were exhibited that depicted the “amazing” theme with digital photography. See the student artwork.

Thank you to the EB parents and staff volunteers who made this event possible: Ann Lefkovits, Angie Jacobson, Eileen Loustau, Robin Kirby, Russ Whismore, Gabrielle Hedlund and Sue Campbell. TEDx Youth@EB back in 2019 around the theme “A community beyond borders”. Rising 5th, 6th and 7th graders are encouraged to participate! Videos of the talks are available here and you can view photos as well!