TEDx Youth Day

CPMS representing!

I had the great honor of gathering several former students and together we participated in the TEDx Global Youth Day on November 19th. The all day event, known as TEDxYouth@Monterey, was held at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. We met at Chalone Peaks and boarded a charter bus to be taken to the event. This was just one of dozens of events held around the world on this weekend.

The organizers did a spectacular job finding 17 wonderful and inspiring presenters that spoke around the theme of “Inspire Tomorrow, Today.”

It began at 10 AM with introductions and then swiftly moved into presentations organized around the mini-theme of Voice. Most speakers were live, but they also played some crowd favorite TED Talks and we had a chance to mingle and network with each other during breaks.

The first speaker was Johan Khalilian, who emphasized, through story-telling, to stay close to the voices that matter in your life.  We were totally blown away by 13 year old author and artist, C.J. Paghasian who encouraged the audience to passionately pursue their dreams. We listened to the beautiful voice of Andrea Blunt who not only sang, but played the accordion.

Kendall Ronzano shared her vision of sustainable building and design by highlighting a project that she introduced by asking the question, What if every high school built a home for a homeless family? Through her blog, NerdGirlHomes, she details the process and experiences of building a house by herself.

Everyone enjoyed watching the recorded TED Talk by Adora Svitak

In the next session, we discovered a local Hispanic woman named Dionne Ybarra who had connections in her past that linked her to King City. She is the daughter of farmworkers who took up surfing and has founded an organization whose goals are to empower young girls around the world through the surfing experience. My students made an immediate connection with her.

Students with surfer Dionne Ybarra

We also heard the amazing tale of Ray Ricafort and how he developed the idea of a taking a “roadtrip” as a means of both self-discovery and as a tool to help realize your dreams.  He has a great website called Roadtrip Nation and shared several clips as well as the personal and emotional details of how and why he began his journey.

During a break in the afternoon, we were able to watch graffiti artist Nurihan Park create a mural for the event and munch on some snacks. My students took the opportunity to grab some chalk and create a little art themselves. One was even interviewed and asked about his experiences at TEDx.

The final session in the afternoon was equally impressive. The wonderful Shandra Benito told of her experiences growing up as a hearing impaired student and the tough time she was having coping until she had a long talk with a friend. She became inspired to turn her attention to the positive and discovered that by helping others in a similar situation, she created a ripple effect of good deeds. It was a beautiful story told by a charming young lady.

High school student Iljin Cho played a beautiful classical violin while his slide show demonstrated that even though money to support the arts in schools may have dried up for the time being, it doesn’t mean that the music has to stop. He is part of a group of high school students that dedicate their Fridays visiting elementary schools and teaching youngsters how to play. A truly beautiful presentation that ended with the call to Bring music Bach!

The day ended with a Pacific Islander theme as we heard of an incredible adventure that a group made up of seven Pacific Island crews, sailing in traditional ocean canoes, is undertaking. We learned about the Spirit of the Sea that is guiding them on their journey. They impresed upon us the importance of a shared community and strategies that each of us can use to find our own island.

Finally, we had the opportunity to experience the Hawaiian dance group known as Huli a Hahai Mai ia’u. They performed two mesmerizing dances for us.

There were many more presentations throughout the day, but there is simply not the space to cover it properly here. Everyone was in agreement that this was an event that we will never forget and I look forward to taking a new group and becoming more actively involved next year.