Thirteen students, teachers and guest speakers were part of a day of thoughtful and thought-provoking presentations in May as Stanstead College hosted its first-ever TEDxYouth event.
Under the theme “World Under Construction,” [email protected] was a completely student-driven event, conceived and executed by members of the Stanstead College community.
Launched in 2009, TEDx is 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.
Mathieu Duval-Soto, Grade 12, opened the conference with a discussion on the need for global animal care; Patrick Young, also Grade 12, followed with a lesson on how to solve world conflicts like a kindergartener – through listening, empathy and de-escalation. Social activists Keisha and Teagan Simpson from Bishop’s University and the campaign “Live Life Unfiltered” spoke on how Instagram influences girls’ body image.
Following a break, Stanstead teacher Jeff Standage demonstrated the “stuff” of the universe. Student Philippe Martel then created a song on the spot. Teacher Erik Van Dyke concluded the morning by demonstrating that winning itself was over-valued but the desire to win drives potential.
The TEDx conference was timed to coincide with Homecoming events at Stanstead College. Consequently, sessions continued in the late afternoon and early evening, starting with two of the youngest speakers of the day. Rosemary Lefebvre, Grade 9, spoke on the possibilities and perils of living to 100. Conner Ehmann, Grade 11, discussed the need for kindness in our lives. Cynthia Zhang, also Grade 9, encouraged society to recognize the role of introverts.
“The world values volume, but volume does not equal value,” she said, quietly.
The final sessions of the evening were by Marianne Picard, Grade 10, who questioned the wisdom of travelling to Mars when our own world needs saving. This was followed by a moving and personal presentation on eating disorders by student Jasmine Richter, Grade 11, and teacher Laura Kirby.
Following a musical interlude by Grade 12 duo Van Pham and Lucas Etienne, classmate Nicolas Del Rio wrapped up with a witty and informative presentation on the need to stay uncomfortable.
All sessions were well attended by students and faculty, parents and alumni on campus for Homecoming. The conference was live-streamed and is available on YouTube. Organizers are hoping the TEDx conference will become an annual event at Stanstead College.
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