Published April 30, 2021
By MARIE MATHEWS
Carmel High’s TEDx Club is running its first big event in May with nine student speakers presenting TEDTalks on topics ranging from mental health to the environment to poetry.
Club president Hannah Shu started the club this school year to give students an outlet to share their ideas and passions.
“I wanted to contribute something to our CHS community, especially through public speaking, which I love,” Shu says. “I know a lot of people who love to talk and share ideas, and ever since COVID happened, we didn’t really have that platform to tell our ideas publicly.”
The pandemic has caused a lot of students to reflect on the world and speak out about racism, mental health and other subjects, and many of the TEDx speakers have incorporated this into their talks.
The theme for the event is “Smell the Roses,” chosen by treasurer Lillian Paul, who is concluding the event with a poem that ties together all the speeches.
“A lot of times, especially this year when everything slowed down, we had a lot of time to notice things that maybe high school students with their busy schedules might not have noticed before,” Paul says. “Along with the TEDx idea of spreading ideas and learning new things, I thought, ‘Why not delve deeper into different walks of life?’ ‘Smell the Roses’ immediately came to mind.”
Students have also used the platform to tell more personal stories. For the mini event in December, Shu talked about wanting to be a YouTuber at 13 and eventually finding a passion for science that changed her life.
“For other people as well, it’s definitely an outlet for them to self-reflect, to pour out their ideas and their dreams,” Shu says.
Club adviser and science teacher Don Freitas became involved with the club when Shu proposed it in the beginning of the year.
“The presenters have been really organized, and the event is going to be spectacular,” Freitas says. “If any students are interested in watching, they should definitely join next year.”
The TEDx Club plans to expand events and welcome new members next year. Shu hopes that more people will become interested in public speaking.
“One of our missions is to help people break free from this wall of stage fright,” she says. “Public speaking is such an important skill that you’re going to need your whole life, and we want to help people get past it by just practicing and encouraging them, and just taking baby steps.”
Shu is confident that the club will continue to improve and inspire others to speak.
“After the mini event, I was very surprised by the people in my club, how talented they are,” she says. “I felt like we had to start from ground zero, but after practices, everyone improved so much, and there are so many amazing speakers in the club.”
Students plan to record the event on May 2, and it will be streamed for free online to anyone who wants to watch the speeches. The link will be on the TEDx Club website: at tedxcarmelca.org.