“TEDx” is a program created by the TED organization, which was built to provide everyday people the opportunity to host their own speech events in their local areas. With over 30,000 past events hosted across the world, TEDx is a program widely used by many groups, to give participants the ability to speak about their passions and interests.
During the beginning of last school year, I applied to become a TEDx founder for my school, Brea Olinda High. I became the organizer of the event, and took on the responsibilities of organizing speaker auditions, ticketing, venues, and all other aspects of the TEDx school production, with my team. I had discussed organization with teachers and activity directors of my school in order to book the auditorium and find video editors. We decided that the event would take place on Thursday, April 2nd, and had begun intensive preparation about a month prior.
However, two weeks before the event date, COVID-19 unexpectedly caused schools to shut down and forced many workplaces, public settings, and events to close entirely. Extracurriculars and events became limited or postponed for many students, with TEDxBOHS also having to be postponed, as social distancing required that in-person events be avoided. After much persistence in trying to relaunch the speech event, my team of students and I were able to find a solution to this issue: host TEDxBOHS online.
The event will not be hosted in front of a live audience, but each student’s speech will be uploaded by the official TEDx platform; although it will not occur as originally planned, we are determined to launch the event and still provide the opportunity to participate for Brea Olinda High School students. This online avenue relies on the technology of each speaker as they will have to personally record their own TEDx talks using the devices they have available, some students even using their phones. These recordings can then be edited by students of Brea Olinda’s video production class, to be published by TEDx. Although this online format of TEDx speeches is uncommon, it has occurred before in several past events, including Stan Lee’s 2013 speech, “What Makes a Superhero?”, for TEDxGateway. These precedents have shown us that, although the task of completely transitioning TEDxBOHS to a different avenue can be a difficult obstacle, it is one that is well worth it to continue the valuable experience of participating and discussing what each student is passionate about.
Under the topic of “innovation”, a group of students ranging from freshman to seniors will cover the importance of growing technology and problem solving; some participants are updating their speeches to address the current pandemic and acknowledge the unique nature of our setting. Other students will deliver their speeches on the importance of the medical industry as it has dealt with outbreaks in the past, how virtual reality has changed over the years, and developments in space travel. The continued interest of these speakers show the dedication of Brea Olinda High School students despite the difficulties of the current pandemic. As a result of the coronavirus, many students have had to quickly adapt to online learning while having their extracurriculars taken away from them. With TEDxBOHS, students are able to resist these setbacks that quarantine has established and continue to pursue their interests regardless of these unprecedented circumstances they are in.
Lauren Yu, Grade 10,
Brea Olinda High School