Words to Give


Olivia McKee

Sarah Konrad, TEDx president and junior, directs a meeting. Konrad said the logistical work leading up to the talk is stressful, but worth the effort.

Uma Kandallu

When junior Drew Sanchez first heard about the opportunity to speak at a TEDx conference, he said he jumped at the opportunity to tell a personal story.

At the upcoming TEDx conference on April 18, Sanchez said he said he will speak about students’ perception of themselves throughout high school through the lens of an Egytian parable.

“I’ve always had an interest in mythology—Egyptian mythology, specifically— and I also like public speaking a lot, so I thought, I’m going to try to merge these two and I came up with an idea that I felt was important to me with how we are in high school right now and how we’re perceived in high school,” Sanchez said. “I took three of my distinct interests and saw how they aligned and then came up with a way to present that in a TEDx format.”

According to Sarah Konrad, TEDx president, and junior, TEDx conferences usually occur on Saturdays to ensure that as many members of the community can attend as possible. This year’s conference will run from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include around four student speakers and four adult speakers.

Allen Wheeler, TEDx co-sponsor and social studies teacher, said the club considered topics that were broad and would allow for students to have different, but related stories when deciding on possible themes.

“When we looked at the possibilities for themes, we looked at different types (of themes) that we thought would really help students draw in some of their own life experiences and tie it together. We thought (the theme) would give them lots of opportunities to put their own spin on it while also being able to bring in different type of academic level stories,” Wheeler said.

Konrad said the main goal of the theme, ‘Leap before you Look,’ is to guide speakers, while also providing options and allowing for variation.

“That’s the beauty of it because we don’t want 15 identical TED Talks. You have to leave it broad enough so they have some room to play around. So the beauty of it is the speakers get to interpret (the theme) however they want with their life experiences,” Konrad said.

Sanchez agreed with Konrad and said he enjoys the flexibility of a broad theme.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re limited to any one type of technology (or) any one type of humanitarian subject. It gives us a lot of freedom to talk about whatever we want,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also said that the theme has allowed for his topic to be different from others being presented as he focuses more on the flipside of the theme.

“With the theme of ‘Leap before you Look,’ mine is kind of the opposite in that I’m encouraging people, especially with the high school experience, to not necessarily leap before you look,” he said. “I think a lot of (the other speakers) focus more on this idea of leaping, but my whole idea is that it may be dangerous to leap before you look in the high school experience. We need to make sure that we understand what we’re getting ourselves into before we jump into the expectations that everybody has of us.”

Gray Martens

Konrad said her favorite part of TEDx conferences is being able to hear new viewpoints and varying interpretations of the theme.

“I just like hearing people talk,” she said. “It’s very stressful leading up to it… but you come out with a little bit of a new perspective.”

Wheeler said he enjoys seeing the process from start to finish and all of the hard work and time put in by the club members paying off.

“(I enjoy) hanging out with kids and being able to see all the months of planning that students put into it and kind of see like that final product that happens,” he said. “It’s definitely a cool experience to see the genesis from the planning stages to the formation to the actual culminating thing of the conference and it’s a very proud moment for the students and community.”

Sanchez said that his strongest motivation to giving a TEDx talk was his love for public speaking.

“I like the performance of a TEDx talk. I don’t do any musical instruments, but I still think it’s fun to be up there performing. You’re kind of using your oratory ability to kind of show people something that they can consider more deeply,” Sanchez said. “I think just the ability to go up there and almost have it be like a performance is the part that I’m most excited about.”

Olivia McKee
speaker and
junior, talks
to another
during a
meeting. The
theme of this
‘Leap before
you Look.’