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TEDx Youth at Seabury Hall: ‘Imagining a Better Tomorrow’

An event of ideas provides real-world opportunities for students.

May 27, 2014
Cindy Schumacher , Maui Weekly

The first-ever TEDx Youth event on Maui took place at Sea-bury's Hall's A'ali'ikuhonua Creative Center on Sunday, April 6. The program, "Imagining a Better Tomorrow," organized by Seabury Hall junior Jasmine Doan, brought together youth from various Maui schools to share inspiring ideas.

"The goal of TEDx Youth, which was completely student-run, was to motivate and empower all participants and attendees to use their talents to create a brighter future," said Doan.

Doan, known for her outstanding achievements in mathematics, enjoys organizing projects and events. Excited to learn that any individual with the will to do so could organize a TEDx event, she decided to take up the challenge.

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Jasmine Doan, TEDx Youth at Seabury Hall organizer and program director, managed all the teams, led the meetings and made sure all was done on time. Along with being the event organizer, Doan is the founder and president of the Seabury Hall Upper School Math Team, which recently earned the highest overall 2014 score at the State Math Bowl (see photo on page 6). She is also the assistant coach of the Seabury Hall Middle School Math Team.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. It began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged. Today, TED covers almost all topics--from science to business to global issues--in more than 100 languages. (The "x" in TEDx means an independently organized TED event.)

"TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world," Doan said. "The mission is to build free knowledge from the world's most inspired thinkers and a community of people to engage ideas with each other."

TEDx Youth was a dream that turned into a reality for Doan, who inspired everyone in her presence to dream big, as well. In fact, the hard work of all the participants created a fun, imaginative and inspirational event.

The TEDx Youth topic "Imagining a Better Tomorrow" had four subtopics: Originality, Heroes, Discrimination and Experiential Learning. Through their talks, the speakers motivated the audience with their innovative ideas and discoveries.

Presenters Zeb Mehring, Quinn Shiraishi and Rosie Kulhavy-Sutherland talked about heroes--how we are influenced by them and how we can be them.

McKayla Wandell, David Cabanero and Rui-Li Inge addressed discrimination. Their message was about overcoming prejudice and the importance of the anti-bullying movement in all schools.

Aaron Rohozinski, Anna Ezzy and Thomas Hayashi talked about originality--how to create and share original ideas with others.

"My talk was about orangutans, their endangerment in the wild and what the public can do to help," said Ezzy. "The TEDx event was the perfect way for me to share my knowledge and talk about more endangerment issues from around the world."

Ezzy feels strongly that we must talk with one another in order to solve issues and thinks TEDx events are a powerful tool to accomplish this.

"Spreading ideas is the goal of TED, and our event fulfilled this goal brilliantly!" said Ezzy.

"Experiential Learning," the final topic, included talks by Matthew Sturm, William Summers and James Hill discussing their outstanding ideas and discoveries.

"My talk, 'Magnetic Suspension, Levitation and Propulsion,' was about the potential application of superconductors in future technologies," said Sturm.

Sturm has shared his thoughts at other venues. However, those talks were always to a science-centered crowd.

"Though these scientific events were rewarding, TEDx Youth was different in that I was able to share my ideas with both those who are and those who are not interested in science," Sturm said. "In this way, I was able to reach people that may not hear that much about the latest insights from the science community. I hope that I sparked the interest of at least one of my audience members."

"It was a pleasure to watch Maui students come together to plan and execute the island's first TEDx Youth event," said Seabury Hall Librarian and TEDx Youth Advisor Linda Lindsay."It was truly student-led. Students provided the creativity and shouldered the entire workload, which made my role as advisor more about protocol and moral support."

Founder and Director Doan and her core team worked many months to plan the event--their hard work paid off. The event created awareness in the students of their ability to do whatever they set their minds to achieve.

"I am so proud of them!" Lindsay said, noting that teenagers have so many unique ideas and are capable of much more than what's expected. "The youth truly are leaders of tomorrow."

Doan, who began preparation for the event at the beginning of the school year, is planning a second TEDx Youth next year that promises to be bigger and better than the first one. In addition, some of this year's speakers have already been asked to present talks elsewhere and many attendees are now pursuing new dreams of their own.

"I learned a lot about organizing an event and the importance of having first-rate communication with everyone," said Doan, who directed her team from an inspired start to a spectacular finish.

Learn more about TEDxYouth@SeaburyHall on their Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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